(Originally published on Times Free Press)
For the first time in nearly three years, the Tennessee Valley Authority may soon have all of its presidential appointed leaders in place to oversee America’s biggest government utility.
East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland and former Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, nominated by President Trump to fill the two vacancies on TVA’s 9-member board, and assistant attorney general Katherine Crytzer, nominated by Trump to serve as TVA’s inspector general, gained the support of U.S. senators Tuesday during their confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm the nominees in time for Dr. Noland and Dr. Harwell to join the TVA board at the next board meeting in August when TVA directors will set the fiscal 2021 budget.
Both Noland and Harwell voiced support for TVA continuing to explore the next generation of nuclear power by studying the possibility of building small modular reactors in Oak Ridge, as urged by U.S. Sen. Sen. Mike Braun,R-Indiana, the chair of the Senate panel that oversees TVA. The federal utility is working with both the Department of Energy in Oak Ridge and the University of Tennessee to consider building the new smaller reactors on the Clinch River near the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
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The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Board of Directors approved the 2019 Final Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) at its quarterly business meeting in Knoxville, Tenn. After a Record of Decision is published in September, TVA will retire its 2015 IRP and begin using the 2019 IRP as its long-term plan to meet energy demands over the next two decades.
TVA took input from stakeholders and the public during the 2019 IRP drafting process to make sure it continues to provide reliable, affordable and clean electricity throughout the region. Following the release of the draft IRP on Feb. 15, 2019, TAEBC submitted comments in April. The final 2019 IRP and associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were published in July.
TVA updated its previous IRP to allow for a more dependable and flexible power-generation system that effectively leverages more renewable energy sources and distributed energy resources. According to the 2019 IRP’s Executive Summary, TVA found:
- There is a need for new capacity in all scenarios to replace expiring or retiring capacity.
- Solar expansion plays a substantial role in all futures.
- Gas, storage and demand response additions provide reliability and/or flexibility.
- No baseload resources (designed to operate around the clock) are added, highlighting the need for operational flexibility in the resource portfolio.
- Additional coal retirements occur in certain futures.
- Energy efficiency (EE) levels depend on market depth and cost-competitiveness.
- Wind could play a role if it becomes cost-competitive.
- In all cases, TVA will continue to provide for economic growth in the Tennessee Valley
For more information about the 2019 IRP, please visit TVA’s website.
(Credit: Knoxville News Sentinel)
The TVA board voted unanimously Thursday to change its rate structure, cutting its wholesale power rate by a half-cent per kilowatt-hour, and imposing a half-cent fixed fee per kilowatt-hour instead.
TVA officials say the controversial move won’t bring in more money than the current billing system, but critics denounce it as shifting more costs from big industrial customers down onto rate-paying homeowners.
TVA board members are meeting in Florence, Alabama, on Thursday.
At a 90-minute morning “listening session,” members of the public, environmental and social groups, and power industry representatives gave mostly negative comments on the proposal.
Primary reasons were greater impact on the poorest ratepayers, and the assertion that a flat fee will discourage energy efficiency.
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