NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Valley Authority is gathering public input to help officials determine the type and mix of energy sources it will need for future power production.
TVA Vice President Joe Hoagland told The Tennessean that the agency wants to find the right combination of energy types including coal, natural gas, nuclear, renewable and hydro-electric as it creates a long-range plan for the future.
"It takes a very long, strategic look at the assets TVA needs to provide low-cost electricity for the people in the Tennessee Valley," Hoagland said in an interview.
The direction taken will affect how much TVA customers pay for electricity.
TVA is the nation's largest public utility, supplying power to about 9 million people in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
Along with meetings in Knoxville and Memphis, TVA is encouraging the public to participate through online webinars that can be accessed at www.tva.gov/irp .
Hoagland said the input helps TVA understand what's important to the public and other stakeholders.
Anne Davis, managing attorney in Nashville for the Southern Environmental Law Center, said Tuesday that she expects the new resource plan to focus on how TVA plans to replace its "oldest, dirtiest, and least efficient coal plants with clean and modern resources like solar, wind, hydro optimization, energy efficiency, and demand response."
"The precipitous drop in cost of renewables and technological improvements in efficiency — coupled with enormous public demand for both of these resources — will demand more attention in this IRP," Davis said by email.
"We have already been working with TVA on these issues, and we are committed to helping TVA modernize its long-term portfolio in a way that's protective of ratepayers' health, environment, and pocketbooks," she said.
Hoagland said the agency is hoping to increase public participation, especially with younger residents, through the webinars and a social media outreach effort.