Alexander, Fincher Raise Questions About Proposal For TVA Purchase Of Oklahoma Wind Power

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander and U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) Wednesday sent a letter to Bill Johnson, president and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, to raise questions about a proposal for the utility to purchase wind-generated electricity from Oklahoma.

Clean Line Energy Partners has proposed generating wind power in Oklahoma and transporting it 700 miles to Memphis. The senator and congressman asked 11 questions on a range of potential issues with such a proposal, including cost to rate payers, energy security, the reliability of wind power and eminent domain concerns associated with building a transmission line from Oklahoma to Tennessee. 

Senator Alexander said, “It’s up to the TVA board to decide what kinds of electricity to generate and purchase. But it is the responsibility of members of Congress to provide oversight to TVA policies, and these questions are part of that oversight.”

Rep. Fincher said, “It’s imperative that we understand what sort of effects this potential purchase could have on Tennessee residents. I’m particularly concerned about any possible use of eminent domain in order to complete this project, and the impact on energy costs this would have on citizens of West Tennessee.”

The letter noted a roundtable hosted by Senators Alexander and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), at which Mr. Johnson said that TVA didn’t need additional electricity generation capacity as a result of reduced electricity demand.

In their letter, Senator Alexander and Rep. Fincher wrote, “When evaluating Clean Line Energy Partners’ proposal we hope that TVA will first consider whether TVA needs additional generation capacity and then determine the best option to produce clean, cheap, and reliable electricity for rate-payers in the TVA region.”

For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.
 
The full text of the letter follows:
 
Dear Mr. Johnson,
 
We write today to seek your assistance in answering several questions about Clean Line Energy Partners’ proposal for TVA to purchase a large amount of wind energy that would be generated in the panhandle region of the State of Oklahoma and transported over 700 miles to Memphis.
 
1)      Does purchasing electricity from this distance increase security threats to the TVA’s power supply? Former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz has said we should pay attention to generating more energy where we use it because of national security risks.

2)      What is the cost of purchasing wind electricity compared to TVA generating or purchasing other types of electricity generation?

3)      There is substantial opposition in Congress to the wind production tax credit. Will TVA ratepayers be at risk of increased rates if the wind production tax credit is not renewed?

4)      What is the reliability of purchasing wind power as compared to other types of electricity generated by natural gas, nuclear, coal, or hydropower?

5)      TVA’s peak power demands tend to be between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and wind tends to mostly blow at night. How does wind power fit into TVA’s overall demand structure if the electricity isn’t being produced when TVA needs it the most?

6)      At a roundtable in September 2013, hosted by Senators Corker and Alexander, you said that TVA didn’t need additional electricity generation capacity as the result of reduced electricity demand. Has this projection changed?

7)      If the projection for TVA’s electricity demand has changed since September 2013, does it make more sense to purchase this wind power from Clean Line Energy Partners, to build additional nuclear capacity, or to build additional natural gas or coal capacity?

8)      Does Clean Line Energy Partners’ proposal require the use of eminent domain in order to acquire any right-of-way for this project? How many land owners or homeowners will be impacted by the use of eminent domain, what specific lands will be acquired and where are they located?

9)      Can you explain how Clean Line Energy Partners plans to compensate any landowners or homeowners who are affected by eminent domain?

10)  How will the price of compensation be determined? Does Clean Line Energy Partners have a specific formula when compensating for land purchased under the use of eminent domain?

11)  What funding stream will Clean Line Energy Partners use to compensate landowners and homeowners for the land purchased under eminent domain?
 

When evaluating Clean Line Energy Partners’ proposal we hope that TVA will first consider whether TVA needs additional generation capacity and then determine the best option to produce clean, cheap, and reliable electricity for rate-payers in the TVA region.



Corker Statement On The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act Of 2015

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Thursday released the following statement after voting in favor of The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 12 to 10.  “I am pleased the banking committee has taken the first step in reforming our financial system and reducing ... (click for more)

Nick Decosimo To Be Honored At 30th Chattanooga Area Manager Of The Year Event

WTCI, Chattanooga’s community PBS station, is a platinum sponsor of the 30th annual Chattanooga Area Manager of the Year event and this year’s honoree, Nick Decosimo.  Mr. Decosimo is the office managing shareholder at Elliott Davis Decosimo, and has been named the 2015 Chattanooga Area Manager of the Year. WTCI will join area businesses to celebrate  this honor during ... (click for more)

Board Of Regents Board Meets Wednesday To Approve New Chattanooga State President

The Tennessee Board of Regents will convene a special called meeting at  9:30 a.m. CDT next Wednesday to receive recommendations for presidential vacancies at community colleges, including Chattanooga State, and the director position at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Covington/Ripley.  The finalists to replace longtime leader Jim Catanzaro are: ... (click for more)

New CARTA Service To Enterprise South Industrial Park Has "Medium" Success So Far

CARTA officials said its new bus service from downtown to the Enterprise South Industrial Park is meeting with "medium" success thus far. Lisa Maragnano, executive director, said there have been 313 riders on the routes that began at the first of the month. That includes 241 getting aboard downtown in the early morning and 72 riding from Enterprise South in the afternoon. ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chincoteague Mourns ‘Dude’

In the span of a person’s life, there are some things that simply can’t be explained to be totally understood. And of all the spectacles I have ever personally witnessed, one of the best is that day in late July when they “pen the ponies” at Chincoteague Island, Va. I’m serious. Over 50,000 people watch every year as volunteer “Saltwater Cowboys” swim the wild ponies to the mainland ... (click for more)