Interesting article yesterday about the retirement of a coal-fired generation plant in Tennessee.  The TVA is planning to retire its Allen plant by 2018 to comply with earlier agreements it made with the EPA and "clean air" groups.  The TVA is now debating a source of replacement generation for this plant.

The TVA has proposed replacing it with a new gas-fired plant.  The TVA's analysis has determined this to be the cheapest option, and TVA is obligated to select the cheapest option.

But Sierra Club doesn't like that option because, in addition to being anti-coal, Sierra Club is now anti-gas, too.  Sierra Club has decided that TVA should replace Allen with the "wind" power Clean Line purports that it will ship to the TVA via a 700-mile transmission line cutting a slash through Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee.  Clean Line has not yet proposed a fixed price for its "wind," saying only:
“We think we can provide green power at an attractive, fixed-rate price for TVA and other utilities in the region,” Clean Line Energy Executive Jimmy Glotfelty told TVA last year. “Having a guaranteed price for 20 years is a great hedge against volatile natural gas prices.”
What good is a "guaranteed price" when it's guaranteed to be higher than other options?  Why should the TVA commit to a speculative transmission line project that may never be built?  It's not responsible planning to depend on a fantasy to keep the lights on.  Clean Line is not part of any regional plan and is not guaranteed to be built.  No authority has "ordered" it, or determined an in-service date.  Clean Line has little in the way of permits to construct the project.  Meanwhile, Allen must stop supplying power in 2018.

Quite aside from the dilemma of planning its resources on speculative projects at undetermined costs, the TVA has stated multiple times that a replacement for Allen must be physically located in the same area.
The existing three coal-fired units at ALF provide both real and reactive power for the Memphis area. To continue to reliably serve the area, generation resources must be located at or near ALF.
This is an engineering problem that also cannot be solved by a "clean" wind power fantasy.  Loss of reactive power can cause voltage drop resulting in blackouts.  Read more about reactive power and why it's necessary here.

Sierra Club doesn't want to hear any of that nasty reality.  It has embarked on an expensive advertising campaign in certain parts of Tennessee
, advising people to send comments to the TVA asking them to "turn, not burn."  Sierra Club wants to have its clean energy hopes and dreams satisfied right now by bullying the TVA into committing to a wind power fantasy, instead of a rational reality that will ensure the lights stay on at the lowest possible cost.  Because, at the end of the day, that is the TVA's mandate -- to keep the lights on.  Sierra Club's resource plan for the TVA is uninformed and unworkable.  How many Sierra Club electrical engineers does it take to plan for the TVA?  The correct answer is none, because they don't exist!

Sierra Club is selling pure fantasy under the cover of "green is good."  Environmental organizations are so hellbent on "clean energy now" that they are grabbing at straws and hoping an uneducated public will support their misguided efforts.  Yes, we can transform to a cleaner energy future, but it's going to happen gradually, not all at once, and certainly not with bulldozers clearing a 3000 mile path for "clean" energy
from coast to coast.

Sierra Club says it has gathered 50 comments to the TVA supporting its
efforts.   Only 50?  How much did this ad campaign cost, and what's the cost of each comment?

The TVA will be meeting August 21 to make its decision about how it will replace the Allen plant.  You can send your own comments here.



08/09/2014 9:16am

100% on target!

The Sierra Club is wasting their funds, "turn, don't burn" is as effective as "Just say NO"

Mikel C Lolley
08/09/2014 11:58am

I wish there were easy answers to our energy / climate adaptation world problem. I am confident that it is not in centralized generation on wind farms and transmission. This is a ponzi and we are all being suckered. All we need is POLICY that democratized OUR grid with a feed-in tariff (access), and POLICY that creates a carbon market place via a price on carbon emissions (a carbon tax). This is NOT pie the sky stuff. There are examples whereby these policies have been used before, in other states (California under Governor Reagan), in other countries (Germany), and between countries (Canada and the U.S. under President Reagan to curb acid rains in the NE), and globally (Montreal Protocol whereby we created a aerosol market place via a gradual tax on ozone depleting aerosols) and all of which have been successful in accomplishing their goals. But the Big Utility Cartels and their powerful lobby won't have any of either since they would have to change the way they do business and begin to SHARE in a truly free market for the very first time. Mikel

Captain Tripps
08/11/2014 9:15am

3 things.....

1: I think I love you.

2: Q: How many Sierra Club members does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Zero. They'd like for everybody to be in the dark... both figuratively and literally.

3. According to EIA statistics, (not including Alaska and Hawaii) 10 of the 11 states with the highest residential electricity rates are those 9 states in the RGGI and California. Sure, there are other factors that go into why these 10 states have high rates, but cause and effect has to be considered. By the way, the other state in the top 11 is NJ, which recently opted out of the RGGI. Speaking of opting out, Australia recently ditched their carbon tax as being a big drain on their economy.

08/11/2014 11:57am

If you'll remember, writing about the Sierra Club was your suggestion, Cap'n. I just had to wait for them to do something brainless to provide the working example. I hope the wait wasn't too long. I'm still waiting for my TVA paycheck to arrive though.

Captain Tripps
08/11/2014 1:05pm

It's in the mail.

08/11/2014 1:36pm

Hey... I invented that game when I used to manage payables. I'll start planning my big European vacation now! *I'm in the money, I'm in the money....*

08/11/2014 12:10pm

What's the "ponzi," Mikel? There's plenty that's bad about Clean Line already, so there really is no need to exaggerate and make crap up using scary words like "ponzi" and "bonds." I think maybe you have bonds confused with grants or tax incentives. Bonds must be repaid to their purchasers, with interest. There isn't some gigantic money making scheme where Wall Street gives "bonds" to Clean Line. Please, please, both you and Luis need to stop spreading misinformation based on your own misunderstandings. You're not helping anyone but Clean Line when you besmirch the credibility of the opposition. Being gung-ho to oppose this project that isn't in your own backyard is a wonderful thing, but you need to make sure it's about helping the group effort and not about wanting to be seen as an "expert" or "community leader." Neither one of you has any experience with transmission or grassroots opposition, but are making crap up as you go, hoping everyone is fooled. Please stop and let the affected landowners lead their own opposition.

Captain Tripps
08/12/2014 4:36pm

Hey Keryn, rumor has it that a quote from your blog made TVA's internal web site News Briefing RSS Feed.... with a link to this post.

Can I have your autograph?

08/12/2014 5:52pm

Oh dear, I guess I should dress up and make some cake and coffee for the visitors?

I just hope it helps balance out all the things my other industry readers say about me... they're not getting any cake.

08/12/2014 6:23pm

The Sierra Club needs to take into account the 700 miles of landowners that would be required to forfeit their property rights in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee. They should explain how they feel it is right for a private, out-of-state, for-profit, venture-capitalist funded company to seek the power of eminent domain for a project that has no customers, no generators, and no demonstrated "public necessity". They also fail to mention the fact that "Clean" Line would blaze a 200' wide, 150' tall trail across two entire states, and part of a third to accomplish their goal. How is that "environmentally friendly"? Click on my name to join our group and see the perspective of some of the people within the corridor in Arkansas!


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