For Immediate Release, February 24, 2021

Contact:

Howard Crystal, (202) 809-6926, hcrystal@biologicaldiversity.org

FERC Urged to Open Tennessee Valley Authority to Clean Energy Sources

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a brief before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, in a proceeding that could help push the Tennessee Valley Authority region toward clean, climate-friendly sources of energy. The TVA is a federally owned corporation and the nation’s largest public power provider.

The proceeding was brought by four power distribution companies in the TVA’s service territory. The companies want to purchase electricity from other providers besides the TVA. But the TVA has a monopoly as a power generator in its service territory and maintains a heavy fossil fuel portfolio despite the climate crisis.

“Federal oversight is desperately needed to combat the TVA’s refusal to allow access to climate-friendly renewables that are critical to the clean energy transition,” said Howard Crystal, legal director at the Center’s Energy Justice Program. “The TVA has an appalling record of failing to embrace clean energy, and the FERC must be able to intercede to protect the public interest.”

The power distributors request FERC intervention, but the TVA claims that the federal power provider knows better than the FERC about how to best serve its seven-state region. In response the Center’s brief explains that, by maintaining its fossil fuel portfolio and thwarting renewable energy development, the TVA is ignoring the climate crisis and harming the very people Congress charged it to serve.

The proceeding is occurring in the wake of the massive Texas power-outage crisis. That crisis raises questions about Texas’s unique power market, which encourages extreme retail power competition and low regulation.

“While Texas’s system is unique in its extreme level of competition, the TVA and other power providers are similarly failing to serve the public interest,” said Crystal. “The TVA’s monopoly on providing power has locked distributors and residents into dirty energy and more expensive sources they don’t want. The TVA needs to be held accountable and be responsive to the public’s interest, which is in clean energy, clean air and combatting climate change.”

Earlier this year the Center spearheaded a public effort to demand that the TVA align its energy planning with the Biden administration’s goal of achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035. The Center also petitioned the TVA to protect customers against electricity shutoffs during the pandemic due to unaffordability, but the agency has yet to act on the petition.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.