The Tennessee Valley Authority on Tuesday submitted notice of its intent to file an Environmental Impact Statement for the retirement of the Cumberland Fossil Plant in Cumberland City, Tn. Through the upcoming EIS process, TVA will identify the timeline to retire the plant’s two coal units and if any replacement generation is needed.
“This is an opportunity for TVA to show that it is listening to the people of the Tennessee Valley when they ask for clean technologies such as solar power and battery storage,” said JoAnn McIntosh, a clean energy advocate with the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club based in Clarksville, Tn. “Cumberland is one of the nation’s largest and most polluting coal plants, releasing over 8 million tons of carbon pollution into the air each year, as well as 20 times more mercury into the water than any other U.S. coal plant. It makes no environmental or economic sense to keep running this polluter for another decade, and it certainly makes no sense to replace it with methane-leaking, CO2-emitting gas plants. We urge TVA to transition from Cumberland to clean energy as quickly as possible -- to protect the health of our communities, provide jobs and economic growth in the Valley, and ensure TVA’s leadership in the clean energy economy.”
In his April 29 remarks on his first 100 days, President Joe Biden reiterated his commitment to moving the U.S. past fossil fuels to clean energy. In recommitting to the Paris Climate Agreement, President Biden reasserted that all eyes are on America to lead again.
“We support TVA’s efforts to achieve a coal-free energy supply, but the timeline here is critical,” said Jonathan Levenshus, a representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “The president has called on the country to reach 100 percent carbon-free energy generation by 2035. Moving beyond coal at Cumberland is an important step forward, but our communities and our climate cannot afford more fossil fuels like gas. TVA must take a hard look at replacing all of its coal with clean energy, including wind, solar, storage, and energy efficiency.”
TVA will accept initial comments on their proposal until June 10.