TVA's plan for future: Less coal, more gas and efficiency
- The just-filed Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the biggest U.S. public utility, forecasts the building of no new coal or nuclear power plants for the next 20 years.
- The plan foresees TVA bringing the completed 1,150 MW reactor online at the Watts Bar Nuclear facility by the end of 2015 at a cost of $4.2 billion. However, TVA does not see itself completing the $6 billion twin-reactor Bellefonte nuclear power plant — which began construction in 1974 — because it will be too expensive to finish and won’t be needed.
- The IRP foresees the shuttering of 26 of TVA's 59 coal plants by the end of 2016, the adding of natural gas peaker plants and gas PPAs to TVA’s current 3,900 MW natural gas capacity, and an increase in the energy efficiency resources that saved 451 MW of peak demand from 2012 to 2014.
TVA's historic 3% annual demand growth has fallen to 1% while energy efficiency is expected to drive growth further down.
Environmental groups want TVA to fulfill the 2011 IRP's promise to be a Southeast leader in energy efficiency by including 5,100 MW of efficiency by 2020. This IRP plans for 2,500 MW to 4,600 MW of efficiency by 2033. TVA now has 1,500 MW of wind and 72 MW of solar.
The IRP foresees no need for the 3,500 MW HVDC Plains and Eastern Clean Line Energy transmission to deliver Texas and Oklahoma wind before 2025 at the soonest. The 700-mile, $2 billion project was greenlighted by Tennessee regulators but federal approval is pending.
TVA will continue work on a small modular nuclear reactor design as part of its mission to be "a living laboratory" for energy research.
- Chattanooga Times Free Press Natural gas, energy efficiency to fuel TVA in the future