“The Environmental Assessment Reports selling TVA’s proposed methane gas plants read like they were written by the gas industry — which coined the term ‘bridge fuel.’ Methane has caused 30 percent of global warming, and over 20 years causes 85 times more warming than (carbon dioxide). Yet TVA’s reports ignore upstream methane leakage, which makes methane worse than coal,” he said. He quoted U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, saying investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure is “moral and economic madness.”
Citing Science magazine, Waterman spoke of “tipping points” that “promise several times more warming than today, irreversibly condemning our grandchildren to an increasingly unlivable, parched hell: a ruined economy, failing crops, drowned coastal cities, mass extinctions, horrific storms, floods, wildfires and lethal heat waves.”
“It’s going to be a mass slaughter,” he said regarding climate change’s effects in an interview after the listening session.
Dana Moran with the Sierra Club shared similar thoughts.
“I urge TVA when seriously considering energy infrastructure to not waste more time and money with outdated natural gas projects. These projects do not serve as a bridge. What they do is tie us up for years, even decades, on unsustainable natural gas,” she said. She promoted cloud-based technology for managing supply and demand, which she said could make renewable energy even more reliable.
Other speakers at the listening session argued against switching quickly to renewable energy, including Mark Kimbell, general manager at the Gallatin Department of Electricity. Gallatin is the site of a coal-fired plant that TVA plans to shut down, along with all its other coal plants by 2035.
“While I support our efforts to get carbon neutral, I support being very prudent. Let’s not mothball the rest of the coal fleet until such time that we get generation in place to overcome the loss of that coal generation,” he said, warning of a loss of reliable power.
David Smart of West Kentucky rural electric shared similar thoughts.
“The clean energy transition in America is overly aggressive, and it is threatening the ability of power companies to keep the lights on during peak weather events,” he said.
TVA has stated it expects to award bids for about 6,000 megawatts of solar energy and energy storage in less than a year with about 40 projects coming online beginning in 2026.
“There is no one answer to achieving our region’s and nation’s clean energy goals,” Lyash said. “We are committed to developing potential pathways to a clean energy future. We must rapidly expand our clean energy resources such as solar, new nuclear, and pumped storage — and we are moving aggressively, including potentially doubling our solar energy capacity.”