Tennessee Valley Authority: Don’t Slash Renewable Incentives for Home and Business Owners
For the second year in a row, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is planning to dramatically slash funds for its Generation Partners Program—a program that supports homeowners and businesses in installing small-scale solar and wind power on their property.
Why? Because the program is apparently too successful.
Citing a $5 million imbalance in revenues vs. expenses, TVA says the cutback is necessary because the huge popularity of the renewable incentives has outpaced customers’ voluntary green power contributions. At the same time, TVA—a U.S. government-owned corporation—has found the cash to pay almost $13 billion in cleanup costs and fines for its 2008 coal ash spill, on record one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. It also dug deep in its pockets to find an unplanned $5 billion to finish the new Bellefonte nuclear plant.
Tennessee has more solar potential than Germany, the world’s solar leader, and it’s experienced a huge solar business and job creation boom in the last decade—already, for example, four Tennessee solar companies employ 1,750 people and support additional jobs at local suppliers and vendors.
One of TVA’s primary missions, according to its Congressional mandate, is to promote economic development in the valley. It’s time for TVA to prioritize green, renewable sources of energy over more environmentally and economically-disastrous coal. At minimum, it should find it in its budget to continue funding for this valuable program for the state’s growing green jobs sector—peanuts compared to what it spends on coal disasters.
Sign our petition to help us pressure TVA to re-instate current support for the Generation Partners Program. Thank you for taking action!
You have stated the reason for the 75% cutback in Generation Partners is because the solar incentive program was too successful. We congratulate you on this success. However you have said the cutback is necessary because the tremendous solar growth outpaced the citizen voluntary contributions for green power through premium rates paid into the Green Power Switch program creating a $5 million imbalance in revenue versus expenses.
You were unable to find $5 million for green power in the budget, but you found an estimated $1.2 billion in the TVA budget to pay for cleanup of the 2008 coal ash spill disaster (one of the worst environmental disasters in the United States) and pay $11.5 million in fines from the state of Tennessee for the disaster. You also found an additional $4-$5 billion in the TVA budget to complete the Bellefonte nuclear plant on top of the $4 billion already spent.
Solar Power delivers savings to ratepayers and taxpayers of about $0.15-$0.40 per kilowatt hour. These benefits include: Saving money on wholesale energy, reducing demand-response expenses, saving energy losses within the distribution system, reducing need for feeder equipment upgrades, hedging against fuel-price spikes, aiding grid security, reducing costly health and environment damages, reducing fuel-price volatility, and stimulating economy. (Source: “Solar Power in the US: Too Expensive or a Bargain”, by Richard Perez at University of Albany, Ken Zweibel at the GW Solar Institute and Thomas E. Hoff of Clean Power Research).
It makes good business sense for TVA to invest in the rapid growth of clean, renewable power. Please reinstate the 200 kilowatt maximum project size in your Generation Partners Program, and please prioritize funding for clean, renewable energy over funding for coal, nuclear and other polluting forms of energy.