FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2023
Nashville, Tenn. — For the first time in the 90-year history of the Tennessee Valley Authority, several nonprofit advocacy organizations submitted a “Motion to Intervene” in the authority’s Integrated Resource Plan process, a comprehensive study that projects how TVA will meet demand for energy over the next 25 years. In the motion, groups called on TVA to make its IRP process more open and transparent by hosting a public hearing and allowing relevant stakeholders to provide input into the plan.
“TVA’s reluctance to adopt a public Integrated Resource Plan process is truly a shame,” said Jake Duncan, Regulatory Director for Vote Solar. “Having worked in IRPs in other states, I’ve personally witnessed the transformative power of a public process, which not only enhances outcomes but also provides an opportunity for utilities to embrace clean energy and address energy justice concerns, benefiting everyone.”
TVA’s integrated resource plan will influence reliability, electricity bill affordability, air and water quality, and regional jobs over the next two to three decades. Unlike the case of most of its neighboring utilities and investor-owned utilities across the country, TVA’s IRP is not regulated by a public utilities commission, and impacted stakeholders in the region are not permitted to formally participate in TVA’s process unless hand-selected by the utility to join its IRP working group. Because TVA’s IRP process is unregulated, the motion to intervene was submitted as a comment, not as a court filing.
“Advocates are asking for an open and transparent planning process, including bare-minimum standards for public input that are available in IRPs at similar-sized utilities,” said Bri Knisley, Director of Public Power Campaigns with Appalachian Voices. “The TVA board can and should call for a public hearing and allow input and analysis from any relevant outside experts who wish to provide input in the IRP.”
“Our country’s largest public power provider is concealing its long-term plans and failing the people it’s supposed to serve,” said Gaby Sarri-Tobar, energy justice campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “As energy prices go up and extreme weather looms, there’s absolutely no excuse for TVA to keep people in the dark about plans that will affect their lives for decades. These folks are paying TVA’s bills and they live with the health and safety costs of the fossil fuel status quo. It’s insulting to exclude them from the planning process.”