Federal judge denies TVA request to dismiss challenge to grid access charges

Environmental groups claim utility pricing illegally discourages renewable generation

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A federal judge has refused to dismiss a legal challenge to TVA's grid access charge, which environmental groups claim violates federal environmental rules by discouraging the economics of individual customers developing more of their own solar, wind or other renewable power generation.

U.S. District Court Judge Liles C. Burke on Monday denied a request from TVA to dismiss a lawsuit filed last September challenging TVA's adoption of a pricing schedule that raises the fixed fees to get TVA-generated power. A coalition of environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Alabama Center for Sustainable Energy, Friends of the Earth and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, charged that TVA's grid access charge and related cuts in solar purchase payments combined to discourage investments in solar energy systems, energy efficiency measures and other forms of distributed energy.