TVA and the Environment
The Tennessee Valley Authority is committed to protecting the environment while providing low-cost, reliable electricity to the people of the TVA region. TVA's work to make the Tennessee Valley region a better place to live, work and raise a family includes extensive environmental efforts:
- Working aggressively to improve air quality by cutting emissions from power production.
- Managing 650,000 acres of surface water; 293,000 acres of reservoir land; 11,000 miles of shoreline; and more than 100 public recreation areas.
- Exploring renewable energy sources .
- A federal study shows TVA power plants have reduced emissions of two key acid rain components to a fraction of what was being released 30 years ago, and at a rate faster than the national average for the industry. In 2012, TVA sulfur dioxide emissions were 91 percent below peak levels and nitrogen oxide emissions were 88 percent below peak levels.
- In 2012, about 47 percent of TVA's generation was from clean energy sources with low- or zero-carbon emissions. TVA projects that low- and zero-carbon sources will make up 50 percent of its generation portfolio by 2020.
- TVA will reduce its environmental footprint by:
- Improving the efficiency of the existing power system
- Pursuing low-carbon generating technologies, such as nuclear power and cost-effective renewable sources, and reducing its coal-fired generation.
- Promoting consumer energy efficiency and conservation.
- TVA's board of directors authorized the purchase of up to 2,000 megawatts of renewable and clean energy. As of Sept. 30, 2012, contracts have been signed for 1,515 megawatts in wind power from the Midwest.
- In partnership with distributors of TVA power, TVA offers incentives to increase the supply and use of renewable energy. Customers can receive $1,000 toward the start-up costs of qualifying renewable resources such as wind and solar generation.
- In 2012, TVA and its contractors completed their 46,000th In-Home Energy Evaluation in 2012 and helped TVA customers shave more than 560 gigawatt-hours off their peak power demand – enough to power more than 35,000 homes.
- TVA has joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and others to create the Volunteer State Solar Initiative, a $63 million investment to make solar power technologies more efficient and affordable.
- TVA is keeping its commitments to the Kingston, Tenn., community following an ash spill in December 2008 at Kingston Fossil Plant. The Emory River has reopened after TVA removed more than 3.5 million cubic yards of ash and sediment from the river and adjoining areas. The last train shipment of this material has been sent to an approved landfill in Alabama. TVA is now consolidating spilled ash that did not enter the river and preparing to store it onsite in the dredge cell that is being rebuilt and reinforced to resist earthquakes.
- TVA has played an instrumental role in developing emissions control technologies used by the utility industry and is a leader in supporting reductions of green house gas emissions.
- TVA anticipates spending about $ 2.3 billion through 2018 to add controls to its coal-fired units. This is less than the previous projection of $3.4 billion because of increasing reliance on cleaner energy resources and the idling/retirement of more coal-fired units that otherwise would have had to have been controlled.
- TVA's integrated management of the Tennessee River system helps maintain adequate water supply for drinking, industrial use and agriculture; helps generate hydropower and provide cooling water for coal-fired and nuclear power plants; supports navigation and recreation; and promotes healthy aquatic habitat for plants and animals.
- TVA operates one of the most comprehensive river system monitoring programs in the United States and partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect habitats of threatened and endangered species.
- TVA's Clean Marina Initiative has certified more than 80 marinas that comply with water quality standards.
- TVA has installed equipment and changed operations at many of its dams to add oxygen downstream, improvements that have helped aquatic life in more than 300 miles of river.
- TVA regulates land use and development along 11,000 miles of Tennessee River system shoreline. A network of watershed teams respond to questions about the use of TVA-managed land and TVA's Cultural Resources staff helps protect more than 9,000 archaeological sites on TVA-managed land.
- In partnership with public agencies and stakeholders, TVA develops comprehensive plans for the management of the public land around each of its reservoirs to minimize conflicting land uses and guide decisions on requests for use of public land.
- TVA's shoreline management policy improves the stewardship of shoreline and aquatic resources while allowing the public to enjoy those natural resources.