TN groups call for TVA pivot to clean energy

Published 11:54 am Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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(TNS) Environmental groups in Tennessee have an urgent call to action for the Tennessee Valley Authority to cut fossil-fuel emissions and replace their coal plants with renewable energy.
The TVA provides electricity for 153 local power companies and serves 10 million people in Tennessee and parts of six surrounding states.
Gabriella Sarri-Tobar, energy justice campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity, which is a member of the Clean Up TVA Coalition, wants to see the Kingston and Cumberland power plants replaced with renewable energy alternatives.
She explained local environmental groups including The Clean Up TVA Coalition are working daily to encourage fossil-fuel-free energy production by 2030.
“One of our key demands is that the new board should take back and should reclaim the decision-making authority that was previously delegated to the CEO Jeff Lyash,” Sarri-Tobar pointed out. “The TVA board did take back that authority.”
Sarri-Tobar emphasized the importance of TVA being a leader in the transition to clean and renewable energy and the coalition is working to ensure workers and communities most impacted by TVA’s decisions are represented in the energy discussions.
Sarri-Tobar noted a recent Appalachian Voices report looking at the job market specifically focused on the Cumberland coal plant retirement plan, and what the shift from coal to gas would do in terms of jobs versus clean power and energy efficiency.
“They found that shifting to gas would actually result in fewer jobs than renewable energy and energy efficiency,” Sarri-Tobar stressed. “There is a transition, that’s gonna happen because those coal jobs will no longer exist, but they can become clean energy jobs.”
The Cumberland plant is set to retire one unit by the end of 2026 and the second unit by the end of 2028. The Kingston plant is currently undergoing an environmental review process.

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