TVA rationalized spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the Shawnee plant by claiming it needed the generation to meet system demand growth needs. TVA’s demand, however, has been significantly lowered by the closure of the Department of Energy’s USEC Gaseous Diffusion plant, which was the primary user of the power generated by the Shawnee plant. Additionally, TVA is expected to bring its Watts Bar 2 nuclear plant online in the next year or two, which will increase TVA’s generation capacity by more than 3,000MW. Instead of investing in more energy savings measures that could reduce load growth and reduce the need for increased investment in expensive, dirty generation sources, TVA recently reduced its budget for energy efficiency programs.
Under the terms of the consent decree, TVA must retrofit these two units by December 31, 2017 if they want to continue operating. There is still hope, however, that TVA may ultimately decide to retire these units. TVA can decide to retire these units during the 3 year timeframe between this decision and the 2017 retrofit deadline. If TVA had decided to retire these units, however, they would not have been allowed to dial back that decision under the Consent Decree. We are hopeful that TVA was merely reserving the right to retrofit these units under the Consent Decree and will ultimately decide to retire these units and instead invest the hundreds of millions of dollars reserved for this project into growing its clean energy resources.