Front Porch Blog

Tennessee “Energy Democracy Tour” gathers community input

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 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.

Here are some photos from the Knoxville event:
Knoxville, Tenn., Energy Democracy event - August 2019

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 that 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

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 reforming 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. The gathering will be held on Oct. 21 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Claxton Elementary cafeteria in Claxton, Tenn. Facebook event details are available here.

After processing notes from the sessions and conducting additional research, groups involved with the tour will release a white pager 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!

Read more about the Tennessee Valley Authority’s lack of transparency, poor performance on clean energy and frequent cost increases in the Aug/Sept 2019 issue of The Appalachian Voice.





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