An agency created in America’s Appalachian coal country by a revered Democratic President to help lift the gloom of the Great Depression has declared that it will continue to ditch the heavily-polluting fossil fuel despite President-elect Donald Trump’s pro-coal sentiments.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, provides power to most of Tennessee and portions of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. It says it will stick with plans made public last year to close 26 of its 59 coal-fired generation plants by the end of this year and rely more heavily on natural gas for future generation, Utility Dive reports, citing the Times-Free Press of Chattanooga, TN.
“We have been following a path that is consistent with the direction of the Clean Power Plan, but we’ve been following it based on what’s best for our customers, and they happen to line up,” TVA CEO Bill Johnson said in a conference call with reporters. “We really have been following the plan that says, what is the best economic and rate path to follow? And that’s really what we will continue to do in every decision we make.”
President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan—suspended by the U.S. Supreme Court while a lower court panel hears a challenge to its legality—envisioned shuttering as much as 90 GW of U.S. coal generation capacity by 2040. Studies showed it could create as many as 100,000 new U.S. jobs at costs to the consumer of as little as 25¢ a day, not including the economic benefits of avoided climate disruption.
If gas prices remain under US$4 per million Btu through 2030 and under US$6 thereafter, the TVA would be “well in the money in the generation space,” Johnson predicted.
Added Utility Dive: “The utility’s 20-year Integrated Resource Plan forecast no new coal or nuclear power plants, while relying on natural gas peaker plants and power purchase agreements to supplement the utility’s almost 4,000 MW of natural gas capacity. TVA also proposed boosting energy efficiency resources, which it said saved 451 MW of peak demand from 2012 to 2014.”