Pollution Prevention and Reduction
Greenhouse gases are essential to life on earth. Without them, much of the sun's energy that warms the earth would be lost and temperatures would be about 60 degrees lower than they are now.
But greenhouse gas concentrations are actually increasing, leading to a rise in global temperatures. The U.S. Global Change Research Program reports that the average U.S. temperature has increased more than 2 degrees during the past 50 years. It is expected to rise another 4 to 11 degrees by the end of this century, depending on emission scenarios.
Researchers attribute these increases primarily to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas along with clearing forests, agricultural practices. and other activities.
Some scientists are concerned that as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise, global temperatures may increase further and contribute to climate change. This could raise the level of the oceans and disrupt food production, along with other effects.
What TVA is doing about greenhouse gases
TVA supports White House Executive Order 13514 to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas intensity over the next decade. Under its Environmental Policy, one of TVA's environmental objectives is to "stop the growth in volume of emissions and reduce the rate of carbon emissions by 2020 by supporting a full slate of reliable, affordable, lower CO2 energy-supply opportunities and energy efficiency”.
TVA intends to accomplish this objective by:
- Reducing load growth by at least one-fourth over five years, through energy efficiency and demand-side management initiatives.
- Meeting the remaining load growth through lower-carbon-emitting energy sources such as renewables, nuclear and combined heat and power.
- Improving the efficiency of the transmission network, including the use of technologies such as Smart Grid, which helps achieve environmental benefits through improved communication and remote control, making the system more responsive in real time.
- Striving to reduce the rate of carbon and other GHG emissions from the existing fleet.
- Using affordable regional resources to comply with renewable and clean-energy standards and mandates, limiting the use of purchased compliance credits.
- Investing in a technology portfolio that supports low- or zero-carbon emitting generation operations and electricity grid infrastructure to support a lower-carbon economy.
- Promoting public education and outreach to encourage energy efficiency, clean end-user energy generation, premium green-energy offerings, and regional climate change mitigation opportunities.
TVA continues to pursue other opportunities to reduce both direct greenhouse gas emissions from sources owned and controlled by TVA and indirect emissions from power TVA purchases from others. TVA's goal is to reduce these emissions by 17 percent from 2008 levels by improving the energy efficiency of our major buildings and improving the reliability and efficiency of our hydroelectric plants.
TVA also is working to reduce by 20.7 percent from 2008 levels its indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with employee travel, waste disposal, and transmission and distribution losses from purchased electricity.
More information about these and other emission reduction activities is available in our annual Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan.
How TVA publicly reports its GHG emissions
TVA submits its annual greenhouse gas inventory as part of the Federal Government Greenhouse Gas Inventory and the EPA GHG Reporting Program. The TVA Annual Form 10-K contains carbon reporting and a discussion of potential business risks related to climate change.
TVA’s climate change adaptation activities
In compliance with Executive Order 13514, TVA adopted an internal statement on climate change adaptation to establish an adaptation planning goal and to better understand the challenges and opportunities a challenging climate may present to TVA's mission and operations.