Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) members and stakeholders reviewed and offered comments to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in response to its Draft 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).  The IRP takes a 20-year look at ways TVA can meet future demand for electricity beyond that which can be met by existing power sources.

Our response stated that TAEBC members and stakeholders are seizing and want access to advanced energy technologies to increase their competitive edge in the marketplace. Owners of these advanced energy projects currently taking place are leaders within their communities; making early adoptions in technologies that benefit the economy and the bottom line. As these projects become more cost-effective and grid parity is achieved, consumers will meet energy demand based on technology preference and the added value distributed generation adds to their operation. We believe that TVA has the opportunity to partner with private industry to embrace the benefits of advanced energy for the TVA grid, the local power companies and the nine million ratepayers in the Valley.

Companies in the Valley also want access to these advanced energy technologies, and TVA is in a unique position to pilot, incentivize, deploy and evaluate these technologies.  The draft IRP might have included unintended consequences of limiting economic opportunities that advanced energy provides. We believe that TVA should not limit access to the $1.3 trillion dollar industry and should keep its options open when considering how to provide reliable, affordable and clean energy to Tennessee and the Valley.

Partnerships are a valuable mechanism to explore advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy. TAEBC was created to serve as a bridge between assets and the private sector to foster the growth of Tennessee’s advanced energy technologies, companies and jobs. We offered to assist TVA in developing partnerships to produce more advanced energy technologies to drive the economy and create more jobs.

In conclusion, TAEBC members and stakeholders are seizing and want access to advanced energy technologies to increase their competitive edge in the marketplace.

We encourage TVA to give thoughtful consideration to how the decisions it makes with its IRP may enhance or hinder economic development opportunities. There is no reason why Tennessee shouldn’t have its fair share of this global, trillion-dollar market economic opportunity.