SACE members speak out against TVA replacing Kingston Coal plant with new fossil gas

We at SACE and our members know the dire consequences of continuing to pour money into fossil fuel infrastructure and the potential polluting impacts on the public’s health and the environment. We recently asked SACE members to submit comments to TVA about what they hoped for the replacement of Kingston’s coal plant.

Kate Tracy | August 2, 2021 | Coal, Fossil Gas, Tennessee, Utilities

Just before 1 AM on Monday, December 22, 2008, TVA’s coal ash impoundment at its Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, Tennessee ruptured and spilled 1.1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash into the surrounding community and waterways – covering more than 300 acres of land and water. Families were left without homes and the ecological systems in the Emory and Clinch Rivers were devastated. A massive cleanup effort was needed to return the area to health; a cleanup effort that was thoroughly mishandled, leading to hundreds of cleanup workers becoming sick, many of whom have since died. 

Now, thirteen years later, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is considering options to replace the Kingston Coal Plant, one of the oldest coal plants in the country, with a new energy source. Two weeks ago we gave a technical update on the retirement status of the Kingston and Cumberland Plants

From the looks of it, TVA’s preferred replacement option appears to be fossil gas power plants and new gas pipelines for each of these plants.

Yet these large fossil gas power plants and new gas pipelines (see above proposed Kingston pipeline route) routed through our communities are expensive, unnecessary, and will inevitably mean more pollution into our air. 

We simply cannot afford for TVA to build new fossil fuel power plants when the public’s health is at stake and the climate crisis demands a swift transition to clean energy.

We at SACE and our members know the dire consequences of continuing to pour money into fossil fuel infrastructure and the potential polluting impacts on the public’s health and the environment. We recently asked SACE members to speak up before July 15 and submit comments to TVA about what they hoped for the replacement of Kingston’s coal plant and here’s what they had to say:

Investments in new fossil gas are a move in the wrong direction

“I dislike hearing rumors of TVA plans to build new fossil gas plants to replace the retiring capacity. We have no business building new fossil power plants, even as cogeneration sites, and inducing gas pipelines needed to supply them.” – Christopher B., Flat Rock, North Carolina

“To replace the Kingston facility with an electricity generator that consumes carbon-based fuel like natural gas would be a clear step backwards as we try to secure a livable world for our grandchildren and everyone’s grandchildren.” – Dick E., Mountain Brk, Alabama

“The last thing we need is another fossil gas pipeline! TVA is a premier energy supplier operating deep into a climate emergency. I urge it to act accordingly!” – Kees D., Ellijay, Georgia

Solar shines through as a possible solution 

“It is really a shame you have essentially stopped new rooftop solar in the TVA power grid, here is another instance where it could be an asset and solution to a problem you have created.” Nathan and Kathey C., Jonesborough, Tennessee 

“Further, solar and storage should also be considered as first-priority energy resources in Alternatives A and B to offset perceived need for gas capacity. I know that it is possible for them to do so, like they did with the Silicon Ranch deal for Facebook, so why not offer clean energy for the rest of its customers?” – Victoria D., Nashville, Tennessee

“I am a solar energy generator and TVA should also be a lead Solar Energy Producer in the nation and not continue to add Gas powered generation.” – Gerald M., Canton, North Carolina

TVA should return to its innovative, clean energy roots 

“TVA, for those of us who know history, was the miracle bringing electricity to rural Appalachia. Now TVA is viewed as a lumbering dinosaur mired in 20th century technology and ignored the business opportunities of the future.” – Jim Wohlgemuth, Nashville, Tennessee 

“My husband and I generate electricity with our creek that runs downhill on our 46 acres of Carter County. We appreciate your support on this project and hope you will decide to move in a positive direction for our beautiful Tennessee.” – Norma M., Roan Mountain, Tennessee

Change is needed, the time to act is now

“It is time to make some changes in how we acquire energy.” – Clifford B., Cordova, Tennessee

“The time is yesterday to make the investments needed to move towards an energy sustainable economy and you need to take the lead. EVERY YEAR we are setting records in heat and unpredictable weather.” – Nancy N., Maryville, Tennessee

“It’s maddening that polluters are still, after decades, allowed to get away with destroying our countryside, our air, our water. They won’t stop unless you make them stop. You Must Make Them Stop. Not just this coal plant, but every single entity that would endanger the precious balance of life on our part of the planet. The Senators and country club fat cats and soulless business men who usually profit from killing everything will just have to live on what they’ve already finagled out of us. It’s time to cut the cord on that BS. We must put the well-being of what sustains us above the rich elitist destruction-for-money schemes. Thank you for your consideration.” – Mary S., Nashville, Tennessee

As a federal entity and the largest public power provider in the country, TVA can and should lead the clean energy transformation

“I believe TVA should do everything it can to put as many sustainable energy options in place as possible. Rather than show itself as lagging behind other states, it should be blazing a trail.” – Carol M., Knoxville, Tennessee

“With great power, comes great responsibility.” – Bree M., Knoxville, Tennessee

TVA’s customers know…We must say no to new fossil gas and achieve 100% clean, reliable electricity

We can get to 100% clean, reliable power over the next decade, (and our recent report shows how TVA can get there) while improving public health, creating jobs, address environmental justice issues, and doing our part to stop the climate crisis. As the nation’s largest public power provider, TVA should be a national leader in the clean energy transformation. But maintaining the fossil fuel status quo won’t get us there. 

TVA must invest ratepayer dollars in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and incentive customers to reduce their energy consumption and produce their own power, rather than locking customers into decades more of expensive and dangerous fossil pollution. We simply cannot afford for TVA to build new fossil fuel power plants when the public’s health is at stake and the climate crisis demands a swift transition to clean energy.

Join our Renew Tennessee campaign to get updates on actions you can take and ways to get involved in advocating for a cleaner, brighter, and more equitable future in the Valley that doesn’t continue to harm and rely on outdated and expensive fossil fuel.

Join Renew Tenneseee

Kate Tracy
Based in the Knoxville, Tennessee office, Kate curates the SACE voice in digital and traditional media outlets as well as email campaigns, newsletters, and action alerts. Kate also works with…
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