The Tennessee Valley Authority has cut carbon emissions from its power plants by 50 percent over the past 30 years and set a goal of reaching a 70 percent decrease in carbon emissions by 2030, but environmental activists want the federal utility to do more.
"I'm disappointed because I'm afraid we're watching TVA's leadership on renewable energy really slip and decline," Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, told the TVA board recently. "A number of us have been active stakeholders in TVA's planning process, and we really value that. But I'm beginning to think this is more of a slow walk-and-talk process as opposed to actually getting to the root causes and working to solve these problems. All of the trend lines for renewable energy seem to be going in the wrong direction."
Bill Johnson, the president of TVA, estimates having the additional capacity to make up for when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine typically adds at least 2 cents per kilowatt-hour to the quoted price of such renewable energy.
"At the moment, we have yet to conclude that [buying power from Clean Line Energy] is the right fit for what we are doing," he said.