Largest Federal Utility Chooses Gas, Undermining Biden’s Climate Goals

cigaretteman

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Deplorable:

The nation’s largest federally owned utility plans to invest more than $3.5 billion in new gas-burning electric plants, despite President Biden’s commitment to swiftly move away from fossil fuels and eliminate greenhouse gases from the power sector in a little more than a decade.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, which provides electricity to nearly 10 million people across the Southeast, is replacing aging power plants that run on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. But critics say substituting gas for coal would lock in decades of additional carbon dioxide emissions that are heating the planet and could be avoided by generating more electricity from solar, wind or another renewable source.
It marks the second time in recent months that a federal entity has clashed with Mr. Biden’s climate agenda. The United States Postal Service is replacing 165,000 aging mail trucks with mostly gasoline-powered vehicles, despite the desire of the White House and leading Democrats to convert the fleet to all-electric vehicles.
It raises the question of whether President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s grand 20th-century experiment with electrification can adapt to a 21st-century climate crisis that requires a radical rethinking of energy production.
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Like the Postal Service, the Tennessee Valley Authority is an independent organization governed by a board of directors made up of presidential appointees. And in both cases, the board is dominated by members nominated by former President Donald J. Trump, who frequently mocked climate science and was an ally of the fossil fuel industry.
In its deliberations about replacing coal-fired generators, the T.V.A. found that solar or other zero-emissions sources would be less dependable and more expensive than gas, said Catherine Butler, a spokeswoman for the T.V.A.
Although the average cost of generating electricity from wind and solar sources is now lower than from fossil fuels in the U.S., the T.V.A. said that it would be more expensive to tap solar energy for its needs.
“We have an obligation to serve, and ensure the lights come on,” she said. “So, when renewables aren’t available, natural gas will be available to ensure that reliable, resilient service is available to power our communities.”
The T.V.A. plans to add about 5,000 megawatts of new gas capacity — enough to power nearly 3 million homes. It is currently the third largest provider of electricity in the United States.



At one point in the 1960s, the T.V.A. was the biggest consumer of coal in the country, operating 12 coal-fired power plants.

But changes over time have transformed the T.V.A. into the rare utility that now draws almost half its power from zero-emissions sources. Its legacy hydroelectric dams provide 11 percent of the agency’s power while nuclear energy supplies another 39 percent and wind and solar make up 3 percent. It has shuttered coal plants to the point that it now draws 19 percent of its power from coal.


Still, environmental advocates argue that the T.V.A. directors have lagged on energy efficiency and are slow-walking a transition to solar and other renewable power at a time when scientists say countries must sharply and rapidly cut pollution from fossil fuels or face a planet that will dangerously overheat.
“It also sends a terrible message,” said Leah C. Stokes, a political scientist and expert in environmental policy who teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “The president has very bold goals to decarbonize the power sector by 2035, and here we have a big federal authority really thumbing their nose at that goal.”
President Biden has vowed to help limit total global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with temperatures before the Industrial Revolution. That’s the threshold beyond which scientists say the likelihood of catastrophic impacts increase significantly. To help do that he aims to cut the country’s emissions nearly in half from 2005 levels by 2030; reforming the power sector is key to meeting that target.
“We can’t build any new fossil fuel infrastructure and limit warming to 1.5 degrees,” Ms. Stokes said. The planet has already warmed an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius.

 
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IAHawk2011

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Mar 18, 2010
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America’s energy infrastructure should be a diverse mix of renewables, nuclear, and yes, even fossil fuels. The article states that TVA draws half its electricity from zero emission sources - that sounds pretty good to me.
 
Nov 28, 2010
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Deplorable:

The nation’s largest federally owned utility plans to invest more than $3.5 billion in new gas-burning electric plants, despite President Biden’s commitment to swiftly move away from fossil fuels and eliminate greenhouse gases from the power sector in a little more than a decade.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, which provides electricity to nearly 10 million people across the Southeast, is replacing aging power plants that run on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. But critics say substituting gas for coal would lock in decades of additional carbon dioxide emissions that are heating the planet and could be avoided by generating more electricity from solar, wind or another renewable source.
It marks the second time in recent months that a federal entity has clashed with Mr. Biden’s climate agenda. The United States Postal Service is replacing 165,000 aging mail trucks with mostly gasoline-powered vehicles, despite the desire of the White House and leading Democrats to convert the fleet to all-electric vehicles.
It raises the question of whether President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s grand 20th-century experiment with electrification can adapt to a 21st-century climate crisis that requires a radical rethinking of energy production.
Advertisement
Continue reading the main story


Like the Postal Service, the Tennessee Valley Authority is an independent organization governed by a board of directors made up of presidential appointees. And in both cases, the board is dominated by members nominated by former President Donald J. Trump, who frequently mocked climate science and was an ally of the fossil fuel industry.
In its deliberations about replacing coal-fired generators, the T.V.A. found that solar or other zero-emissions sources would be less dependable and more expensive than gas, said Catherine Butler, a spokeswoman for the T.V.A.
Although the average cost of generating electricity from wind and solar sources is now lower than from fossil fuels in the U.S., the T.V.A. said that it would be more expensive to tap solar energy for its needs.
“We have an obligation to serve, and ensure the lights come on,” she said. “So, when renewables aren’t available, natural gas will be available to ensure that reliable, resilient service is available to power our communities.”
The T.V.A. plans to add about 5,000 megawatts of new gas capacity — enough to power nearly 3 million homes. It is currently the third largest provider of electricity in the United States.


At one point in the 1960s, the T.V.A. was the biggest consumer of coal in the country, operating 12 coal-fired power plants.

But changes over time have transformed the T.V.A. into the rare utility that now draws almost half its power from zero-emissions sources. Its legacy hydroelectric dams provide 11 percent of the agency’s power while nuclear energy supplies another 39 percent and wind and solar make up 3 percent. It has shuttered coal plants to the point that it now draws 19 percent of its power from coal.


Still, environmental advocates argue that the T.V.A. directors have lagged on energy efficiency and are slow-walking a transition to solar and other renewable power at a time when scientists say countries must sharply and rapidly cut pollution from fossil fuels or face a planet that will dangerously overheat.
“It also sends a terrible message,” said Leah C. Stokes, a political scientist and expert in environmental policy who teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “The president has very bold goals to decarbonize the power sector by 2035, and here we have a big federal authority really thumbing their nose at that goal.”
President Biden has vowed to help limit total global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with temperatures before the Industrial Revolution. That’s the threshold beyond which scientists say the likelihood of catastrophic impacts increase significantly. To help do that he aims to cut the country’s emissions nearly in half from 2005 levels by 2030; reforming the power sector is key to meeting that target.
“We can’t build any new fossil fuel infrastructure and limit warming to 1.5 degrees,” Ms. Stokes said. The planet has already warmed an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius.

Is there any reason for this other than corruption?
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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Oct 13, 2006
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Is there any reason for this other than corruption?
From the article...

In its deliberations about replacing coal-fired generators, the T.V.A. found that solar or other zero-emissions sources would be less dependable and more expensive than gas, said Catherine Butler, a spokeswoman for the T.V.A.
Although the average cost of generating electricity from wind and solar sources is now lower than from fossil fuels in the U.S., the T.V.A. said that it would be more expensive to tap solar energy for its needs.
“We have an obligation to serve, and ensure the lights come on,” she said. “So, when renewables aren’t available, natural gas will be available to ensure that reliable, resilient service is available to power our communities.”


Seems like a reasonable explanation....and Natural Gas is better than coal emissions wise.
 
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Nov 28, 2010
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Maryland
From the article...

In its deliberations about replacing coal-fired generators, the T.V.A. found that solar or other zero-emissions sources would be less dependable and more expensive than gas, said Catherine Butler, a spokeswoman for the T.V.A.
Although the average cost of generating electricity from wind and solar sources is now lower than from fossil fuels in the U.S., the T.V.A. said that it would be more expensive to tap solar energy for its needs.
“We have an obligation to serve, and ensure the lights come on,” she said. “So, when renewables aren’t available, natural gas will be available to ensure that reliable, resilient service is available to power our communities.”


Seems like a reasonable explanation....and Natural Gas is better than coal emissions wise.
Same arguments we always hear from the fossil fuel industry. Sun doesn't always shine, wind doesn't always blow.

True as far as it goes, but missing the obvious. First that we need to get off fossil energy as much and as quickly as possible. Second that there are multiple ways (not just batteries) to deal with that ebb and flow.
 

swagsurfer02

HR King
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Dec 8, 2010
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Natural gas was running cheaper than coal for a long time. Not sure what prices are at now.
 
Nov 28, 2010
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Maryland
So . . . we are still waiting for a President who will be good on climate change, global warming, the environment (or whatever you want to call it).
 

InsaneHawkJJP

HR MVP
Apr 1, 2013
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So . . . we are still waiting for a President who will be good on climate change, global warming, the environment (or whatever you want to call it).
I would just say the planet. You know, Earth, third rock from the sun. We are pretty dependent on it. Sure the richers can afford to colonize space, but us norms are going to need it for the foreseeable future.
It doesn’t matter who the POTUS is, if congress doesn’t back them. At least Biden is trying.
 

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