The Tennessee Valley Authority has released a draft version of a plan that evaluates its options to meet its power generation needs during the next 20 years, and it is accepting public comments.
Under development since early 2018, the draft of the Integrated Resource Plan was released for public review on Friday.
The Integrated Resource Plan is a power planning roadmap, TVA said in a press release Wednesday. It examines a variety of economic, regulatory, and market-driven scenarios and strategies—both within and outside TVA’s control—to help the public utility respond to changing energy demands while continuing to provide reliable power at the lowest possible cost, the press release said.
“The 2019 IRP emphasizes the importance of flexibility in our generation in response to the changing energy marketplace,” said Laura Campbell, TVA vice president of enterprise planning. “TVA looked at a wide range of possible futures, and flexibility is important in every case to ensure a reliable power supply.”
TVA said it is updating its 2015 IRP due to continuing changes in the utility industry. The changes include abundant, lower-cost natural gas; a decrease in the cost of renewable generation; and an increased focus on energy conservation efforts.
The 2015 Integrated Resource Plan was cited before the TVA Board of Director’s decisions last week to close the Bull Run Fossil Plant in Claxton and Paradise Fossil Plant Unit 3 in Kentucky. The retirements of those two units in 2023 and 2020 will be the first 1,700 megawatts of coal plant retirements of the 2,600 megawatts that could be retired through 2033 under the 2015 plan, TVA President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson told the board on Thursday.
Though the new Integrated Resource Plan is not final, the draft does contain some preliminary observations, TVA said:
- Additional resource capacity will be needed to serve customers in all future scenarios.
- There is no immediate need for TVA to add baseload resources that are designed to operate around the clock.
- Solar will play a substantial role in expansion, beginning in the mid-2020 timeframe.
- Gas, storage, and demand response are added in varying amounts. They provide flexibility and ensure reliability at times of peak demand.
- Key considerations when evaluating coal retirements are uncertainty around future environmental standards for carbon emissions, the outlook for load, and natural gas prices.
- Energy efficiency levels are relatively similar across portfolios and decrease over time as efficiency impacts from new codes and standards increase over time.
A copy of the draft IRP and corresponding draft Environmental Impact Statement is posted at www.tva.com/irp.
A public comment period will run from February 15 to April 8. Comments can be submitted on the TVA website at www.tva.com/irp, by email at [email protected], or sent by mail to Hunter Hydas, IRP Project Manager, Tennessee Valley Authority, 1101 Market Street, MR-3C, Chattanooga, TN 37402.
TVA will hold a series of public meetings to present the plan, answer questions, and accept written comments, in Knoxville (February 27); Memphis (March 18); Huntsville, Alabama (March 19); Chattanooga (March 20); and Bowling Green, Kentucky (March 26).
TVA is also offering a public webinar on Tuesday, February 26, from 11-11:45 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Anyone interested in participating can register at www.tva.com/irp, the press release said. A recorded version of the webinar will also be posted on that webpage.
A final version of the IRP will be presented to the TVA board of directors later this year.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation, and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation, the press release said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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