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.”
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.
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.