The U.S. Senate has confirmed six Biden Administration appointees to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board of directors. Under TVA’s by-laws, the board consists of nine members.
While TVA board members have historically approved new energy projects, earlier this year board members delegated that authority to Jeff Lyash, TVA’s CEO & president, said the Clean Up TVA Coalition.
TVA, a federally owned utility, has announced its intention to replace its Cumberland coal plant with a 1,450 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) facility that requires a new gas pipeline interconnection. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to evaluate replacing the coal unit with solar, wind, energy efficiency and storage, rather than gas generation and its associated pipeline.
The utility is also deciding how to replace its Kingston coal plant. “We’d like to see any decision about building new gas plants at Cumberland, as well as at the Kingston plant, to be held until the new directors have a chance to review this decision,” said SACE Executive Director Stephen Smith.
TVA is planning its generation mix over the next 20 years, with an integrated resource planning (IRP) process starting next year. The IRP process “could be an opportunity for the federal utility to align its objectives with President Biden’s mandate of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035,” said the Clean Up TVA Coalition.
The Center for Biological Diversity has recommended eight steps for the new TVA board members to take, for TVA to reach 100% renewable generation by 2035.
The coalition provided biographical information for the six new TVA board members:
· Beth Geer is former chief of staff to former Vice President Al Gore.
· Michelle Moore is founder of Groundswell and led sustainability and infrastructure teams in the Obama Administration.
· Robert Klein served as international vice president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
· William Renick is former chair of the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi.
· Adam Wade White served as Lyon County judge/executive in Kentucky.
· Joe Ritch, an attorney, formerly served as TVA Board Chair from 2013-2017.
Separately in Memphis this week the board of the municipal utility voted against accepting TVA’s offered “never-ending contract,” which would have limited the utility from seeking lower-cost renewable power from other sources.
TVA serves 10 million customers in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
The Clean Up TVA Coalition says that it works to “to propel” TVA into a just, equitable, and fossil-fuel-free energy future by 2030.
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