Monday, February 18, 2019

Study: Switch From TVA Power Could Save Up To $333M

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 2:46 PM

click to enlarge TVA's new Combined Cycle Plant. - TVA
  • TVA
  • TVA's new Combined Cycle Plant.

Memphis Light, Gas & Water could save $240 million to $333 million each year by switching away from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for electricity, according to a new report issued Monday.

Friends of the Earth, an environmental advocacy group, ordered a study of the switch from the Brattle Group, an “energy, economic, and financial research group that advises major energy providers, utilities, and governments around the country and across the globe.”
click to enlarge 1397161833-mlgw.jpg

The study is called “Power to Memphis – Options for a Reliable, Affordable, and Greener Future.” It contends that if MLGW and the city of Memphis terminated its contract with TVA and develop an alternative energy supply, the savings each year could reach to $333 million per year.

The options in the study do not include the proposal to use an abandoned TVA nuclear power plant in Alabama for Memphis energy.

“We could have reliable, cheaper, cleaner power for customers across Memphis,” Herman Morris, former MLGW president, said in a statement. “Memphis has the power to become a showcase for 21st century energy that will cost less and stop polluting the air and water. We should be looking ahead and not backward to TVA’s expensive and dirty nuclear reactors and coal-fired power plants.”

If MLGW signed letters today to end its contract with TVA, MLGW would still have to buy power from TVA for five years. In that time, Memphis could build its own energy systems or buy it for another supplier like Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the nonprofit energy group supplying energy for parts of 15 states like Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

click to enlarge A solar panel array at Agricenter International. - MLGW
  • MLGW
  • A solar panel array at Agricenter International.

All of the options studied would create fewer emissions than those with TVA’s current power supply, according to the study, and some scenarios saw all of Memphis’ power coming from renewable sources as early as 2050.

“MLGW customers deserve to know their options for cheaper bills and cleaner energy,” said former TVA chairman David Freeman. “City officials and MLGW officials need to begin the conversation now so the required five-year TVA notice process can begin sooner rather than later.”

TVA officials did not immediately respond to an invitation to comment on the study. We'll update this story if they do. 

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