TVA releases draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and invites public feedback

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) released its 2019 draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) on Feb. 15, 2019. TVA is currently inviting public stakeholders for feedback on the draft through April 8, 2019. TAEBC will submit public comments for the final IRP.

The IRP provides a long-term vision for how TVA can best meet the Valley’s need for power during the next two decades. According to the draft, the IRP will impact how TVA supports environmental stewardship, encourages economic development, and offers low-cost electricity in the area.

As the utility industry is evolving rapidly, this IRP will improve TVA’s ability to create flexible power-generation systems that will ensure reliable power at an affordable cost. The IRP will also inform TVA’s Long-Range Financial Plan.

TVA is updating its 2015 IRP due to vast changes within the utility industry, including increased access to natural gas, heightened attention on energy conservation efforts, and lower costs of renewable generation. As the nation’s largest public power provider, it is imperative for TVA continually seek out new solutions the region’s energy needs.

This IRP has been under development since Feb. 2018, when scoping efforts first identified issues relevant to the public and provided the foundation for the current draft. During the spring and summer of 2018, TVA began the development of model input and framework process, which involved finding and creating scenarios, resource options, and business strategies.

In the fall of 2018, TVA analyzed and evaluated the performance of their 30 resource portfolios that were identified during the previous modeling process. Throughout this projected 18-month journey, TVA has actively engaged external stakeholders, like TAEBC, to share their assumptions, opinions, and expertise to create an IRP that will benefit all Tennesseans.

In April 2018, TAEBC submitted comments to TVA as part of the initial IRP drafting process. With these comments, TAEBC reaffirmed our commitment to support TVA as it takes steps to address the ever-changing utility marketplace. The purpose of these comments is to illustrate how TVA can best meet future electricity demands with access to economic development data. The guidance we provided included:

  • Ensure there is a collaborative, public, open stakeholder process for developing the IRP.
  • Resource planning should include both TVA-built resources and procured third-party resources; as well as take into consideration customer-sited and demand-side management resources.
  • Correctly valuing distributed energy resources (DERs) is critical to integrating the benefits they offer to both demand and supply side operators. Valuing a stack or system of DERs is a challenge that must be addressed as the net benefits may increase when certain technologies are used together.
  • Consider how the IRP might encourage or discourage economic development, capital investment and jobs in our region from the advanced energy sector.

TVA will hold public meetings throughout the state over the next month to present the plan, answer questions, and accept written comments for the IRP. According to the IRP timeline, TVA will complete public meetings by April 2019, release the final IRP to the public in summer 2019, request approval from the Board in August 2019, and publish a Record of Decision soon after.

To learn more, sign up for TVA’s public webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 11:00 to 11:45 a.m. Follow this link to register. The recorded version will be available on TVA’s website.