U.S. Senator Bob Corker Monday joined Senator Lamar Alexander in hosting a roundtable discussion in Knoxville on the TVA long-term plan to meet future electricity demand while consistently offering low-cost, competitive power rates capable of driving economic development and job growth in the Tennessee Valley.
“Nothing is more important to me than Tennesseans’ standard of living and our state’s ability to attract high-quality jobs, and TVA’s ability to carry out its mission of providing low-cost, reliable power directly impacts that,” said Senator Corker. “Our discussion today focused on ensuring TVA is operating in the best interest of ratepayers and hardworking Tennesseans and is not swayed by outside influence to over-invest in power sources like wind and solar that do not make sense in Tennessee.”
Senator Alexander asked Bill Johnson, president and CEO of TVA, “Why change direction now? The goal is not more windmills. The law says that the goal is low-cost electricity. TVA is building emission-free nuclear plants and low-emission gas plants. It is putting pollution control equipment on its coal plants. Our air is demonstrably cleaner. What is the excuse for joining states that are raising their electric rates by using more unreliable, renewable power?”
Senator Alexander told Mr. Johnson, “Some of the states that rely more heavily on renewables in their generation mix have seen the largest increases in electricity prices over the past five years. From 2008 to 2013, the average price of electricity across the country went up about three percent. During that same period, the 10 states with the highest percentage of wind power today saw their price of electricity rise an average of nearly 20 percent. If we want more good jobs and higher family incomes, TVA should stick to its mission of low rates and not be tempted to pursue the energy fad of the moment.”
Senator Corker joined Senator Alexander in questioning panel participants, which included Mr. Johnson; Wayne Henson, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association; and Lloyd Webb, director of Energy Procurement at Olin Chlor Alkali and representative of the Tennessee Valley Industrial Committee.
In March, TVA released its draft 2015 Integrated Resource Plan, which evaluates options to meet future demand for electricity over the next 20 years. A final version of the plan will be presented to the TVA board of directors later this summer.
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