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No TVA Pipelines

Tennessee Valley Authority is planning to retire its Cumberland and Kingston coal plants but is proposing to replace these plants with another fossil fuel: methane gas in 2022 and 2023. Let's say NO to more fracked gas, and YES to renewable energy in Tennessee!

TVA is Planning Gas Plants and Pipelines

  • The methane gas-fired plants TVA has proposed would require the construction of approximately 157 miles of gas pipelines through communities in East and Middle Tennessee. 

  • The proposed Cumberland methane gas pipeline would cut across Middle Tennessee and add a 32-mile branch to an already existing 11,755-mile pipeline network that runs from Texas to New England operated by Kinder Morgan’s biggest subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company LLC.

  • The proposed Kingston methane gas pipeline would rip through East and Middle Tennessee adding 125 miles of pipeline through areas that have already just recovered from the largest industrial spill in US History - TVA’s 2008 Kingston coal ash spill.

  • Methane gas prices are volatile and this can mean higher electricity bills. TVA already raised wholesale power rates by up to 10% in 2022, citing increased gas and coal prices.

  • Increasing reliance on an unpredictable, expensive fossil fuel stands to increase  electricity costs and does not make economic sense.

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Why Are Gas Plants and Pipelines a Bad Idea? 

 

Gas plants are expensive: 

  • A new gas plant and pipeline would cost ratepayers at least 9 billion dollars more than clean energy alternatives. Because options like solar and storage are significantly cheaper to operate, TVA could abandon the gas plant once operating it becomes too costly, saddling TVA's ratepayers with billions in avoidable debt from its reckless investment. Although TVA leadership claims methane gas is a “bridge fuel,” the reality is that these polluting plants and pipelines, if operated to the end of their financed lifecycle would release dangerous, climate-warming gases for decades. A “bridge” isn’t necessary; clean, renewable energy technology is affordable, reliable, and available right now. With less than 5% of its portfolio from wind, solar, and storage, TVA has a tremendous opportunity to invest in clean energy.


Clean energy is cheaper and available right now: 

  • The Cumberland Replacement proposed combined cycle gas plant is more expensive than a diverse, cleaner mix of generation, aka a clean energy portfolio (CEP),  that provides the same energy, peak capacity, and ramping services to TVA’s system.

Gas plants and pipelines are risky for nearby communities and wildlife:

  • The pipelines will have a substantial impact on communities along their routes. Rural residents will have land taken from them by the pipeline company through eminent domain. A recent study found a strong correlation between existing methane gas pipeline infrastructure and social vulnerability. Communities burdened by new methane gas pipeline infrastructure will suffer air and water pollution, public health and safety concerns, among other burdens.

  • The pipelines will cut across dozens of streams including tributaries to rivers with endangered and threatened species.

Clean energy is imperative for stopping extreme weather caused by climate change: 

  • The Tennessee Valley is already seeing the impacts of extreme weather caused by a changing climate - our region is experiencing extensive damage from flooding, tornadoes and extreme heat. In order to prevent more loss and devastation from climate change, we need to switch to clean energy with larger, more impactful emissions reductions than methane gas.


Gas plants would create very few permanent jobs: 

  • TVA’s draft environmental impact statement shows that if the Cumberland Fossil Plant is converted to gas, it will only create 25-35 permanent jobs in the area. ​



1 Ryan E. Emanuel, Martina A. Caretta, Louie Rivers III & Pavithra Vasudevan, Natural Gas Gathering 

and Transmission Pipelines and Social Vulnerability in the United States, 5 GeoHealth, May 18, 2021, https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2021GH000442 
Barbara Gottlieb, with Larysa Dyrszka, MD. Too Dirty, Too Dangerous: Why Health Professionals Reject 

Natural Gas. Physicians for Social Responsibility, February 2017. 

https://www.psr.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/too-dirty-too-dangerous.pdf

Resources 

TAKE ACTION

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is currently seeking comments on the environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline, which helps them decide whether to approve the project. Not only would a new pipeline expose residents to increased risk of explosions, leaks and polluted water, but it would mean building a gas plant at the site of the worst industrial spill in U.S. history — the 2008 Kingston coal ash spill. 
 

Tell FERC this project is unnecessary by signing the comment here.

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