A publication of Appalachian Voices


A publication of Appalachian Voices

Inside Appalachian Voices

Energy Democracy Tour Gathers Communities’ Visions for Our Energy Future

Knoxville Energy Democracy Tour attendees share ideas during education modules. Photo by Jamie Goodman

The Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Tour has nearly completed its first phase of events, visiting more than 10 different communities and hundreds of people throughout the Tennessee Valley Authority’s footprint. This regional listening project was coordinated by Appalachian Voices, Science for the People, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM), and more than a dozen other organizations, community groups and local power companies.

During the tour stops, communities participated in education sessions about the structure, history and impacts of the TVA energy system. Attendees provided input during listening sessions and asked questions such as, “What do we want for our energy future?” and “What needs to change at TVA in order for us to reach that future?”

Information from the visioning discussions is still being processed, but emerging themes include:

  • Just, equitable energy production and use
  • Environmental health prioritized with renewable, efficient energy generation
  • Locally owned energy generation
  • Safe, secure and skilled energy jobs created and supported with workforce training
  • Energy decisions democratically controlled

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Knoxville Energy Democracy Tour attendees share ideas. Photo by Jamie Goodman

Overwhelmingly, communities expressed that TVA’s current decision-making model is disempowering and ignores community concerns and priorities. Many ideas were generated around TVA reform that targeted the federal utility’s governance structure, communication processes and revising the TVA Act.

The Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Tour will make its final stop in Anderson County, Tenn., with communities living near the Bull Run Fossil Plant, which TVA voted to close earlier this year. After processing notes from the sessions and conducting additional research, groups involved with the tour will release a report that summarizes the feedback we heard and provides a list of policy suggestions for reaching the energy future that communities want. Keep an eye out for this exciting update!

After two successful stops in Raleigh and Asheville, the Energy Justice North Carolina, End the Duke Monopoly Tour continues to work its way across North Carolina with events planned for Oct. 23 in Charlotte, and Boone in early November.

The tour is bringing communities together across the state to discuss the electric utility system and the pitfalls of Duke Energy’s monopoly control. Both events have allowed ratepayers to continue dialogue about the issues their communities face, as well as plug into local events and movements. Ratepayers have made it clear that it’s time to end the Duke monopoly.

Stay tuned for upcoming events in Virginia! Visit EnergyDemocracyYall.org for details.