Dear Mr. Johnson and Members of the TVA Board,
As we celebrate the 48th annual Earth Day, there are many reasons to reflect on what we’ve learned since April 22, 1970 and consider what those lessons mean for our collective future. We have come to understand that burning fossil fuels contributes to global climate instability. We have watched tragedies unfold like the BP Oil Spill and the Kingston Fly Ash Spill that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up (which still shows up in our monthly bills), not to mention the effects on our air, water, and wildlife. We have watched as our electric bills steadily creep up and up and up. Now it’s time we ask ourselves why we continue to abide by the status quo.
The TVA Act mandates TVA to act “in the interest of the national defense and for agricultural and industrial development” and “to control the destructive flood waters of the Tennessee River.” In order to lawfully meet this mandate, TVA must invest heavily in renewable energy such as solar and wind. Solar and wind are the lowest cost energy options; why does TVA continue to stifle renewable investment with its pathetic offerings and lack of a Renewable Portfolio Standard? The new offer is lower than net metering and discourages even small-scale solar investment. Ten megawatts per year is a pittance. Investing in fossil plants is to mortgage our future, not just environmentally but also economically.
Renewables are some of the fastest growing job markets in the world. They provide low cost, reliable electricity. By the time we have a meaningful portfolio of solar and wind, battery storage will be reaching economic viability. Continuing to burn fossil fuels, which emit atmosphere-warming carbon dioxide (amongst other dangerous chemicals), hurts our economy and fuels storms that directly, and indirectly, increase flooding in the Tennessee River. Furthermore, the Department of Defense, along with every branch of the U.S. Military, has stated that global climate change is among the highest risks to our national defense. In other words, TVA is in violation of its Charter multiple times over. For what? To pay executives millions of dollars per year, buy new airplanes, and hide bad investments (i.e. stranded assets)?
We understand that distributed generation is bad for TVA’s bottom line. However, TVA exists not to generate profits but to act in the best interest of the people of the Tennessee Valley and the people of the United States of America. It’s high time that TVA find the courage and strength to press forward and become a leader in renewable energy and sustainable development. For the good of us all, let’s make the Tennessee Valley a beacon of hope for our future and the future of our children.
Investing in solar and wind will create jobs, lower electric rates, and protect our planet. It’s time for TVA to act!