The Tennessee Valley Authority could be using more natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency in the coming decades, according to the final 2015 Integrated Resource Plan issued July 13.
Under development since the fall of 2013, TVA’s plan is a power planning roadmap to 2033. It examines a variety of economic, regulatory and market-driven scenarios and strategies — both within and outside TVA’s control — to help TVA respond to changing energy demands while continuing to provide reliable power at the lowest possible cost.
“The recommendations in the plan meet the dual objectives of ensuring flexibility in our energy sources while providing guidance on least-cost power options,” said Joe Hoagland, vice president of TVA Stakeholder Relations. “The plan also reinforces the importance that TVA power remains reliable, affordable and sustainable.”
TVA is updating its 2011 plan due to dramatic changes in the utility industry. Such changes include lower-cost natural gas, decreased cost of renewable generation, decreased demand and increased focus on energy efficiency efforts.
The new plan examined various scenarios of load growth and environmental regulations in the future. Those scenarios were then used to assess five strategies that focus on various themes: current goals, an emphasis on emission targets, a reliance on power purchases, maximizing energy efficiency or renewable energy. For the first time, this plan also looked at energy efficiency as a generation resource, similar to traditional sources like coal and gas, to compare future pricing and availability.
The final plan reinforces some observations made in the draft plan:
· There is a need for new capacity in every scenario.
· New natural gas capacity is needed in every scenario; as early as 2020 in some cases.
· There is no immediate need for new baseload (24/7) resources beyond the completion of Watts Bar Unit 2 and power upgrades being evaluated for Browns Ferry Nuclear station.
· Increased, cost-effective, energy efficiency and renewable energy levels.
The plan was developed with input from the public and contributions from a working group of stakeholders from local power companies, environmental organizations and other public and private entities with a vested interest. TVA conducted an extensive public outreach that included a series of open meetings around the valley.
A copy of the plan, accompanying Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, and response to public comments has been posted at http://www.tva.com/irp
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 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.