The Tennessee Valley Authority has issued a request for up to 5,000 megawatts of carbon-free energy that leaders of the country’s largest public utility say needs to be online by 2029.
The RFP from Knoxville-based TVA, which has operations in seven states and serves 10 million people, calls for applicants to put forward solar, land-based and offshore wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, nuclear, green gas or battery storage plans. The utility says proposals need to be submitted by mid-October and that chosen projects will be announced next spring. Existing projects chosen could begin supplying power to TVA June 1 of next year while proposed new projects need to be operational by mid-2026.
“We are taking this bold, decisive action because TVA is uniquely positioned to lead in reducing carbon emissions for the region and the nation,” Jeff Lyash, TVA’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “This announcement is a clear signal to our industry, our partners, and our nation that we need to move further and faster, together.”
TVA’s clean-energy RFP is one of the largest of its kind. By comparison, other recent large RFPs for carbon-free energy – albeit excluding the nuclear power option – have come from Arizona Public Service Co. (1,000-1,500MW), Southwestern Electric Power Co. (999MW) and Portland General Electric Co. (875MW).
This week’s announcement is part of TVA’s plan to cut its 2005 carbon levels by 70% by 2030 and 80% in the ensuing five years with the ultimate goal being net-zero by 2050. In its fiscal 2020, the utility generated 57% of its power from carbon-free sources – with the large majority of that nuclear – with the remainder coming from coal and gas plants.
Of note re: the possible nuclear components in TVA’s RFP: Those parts of any proposal would rely on existing plants; TVA COO Don Moul told the Associated Press that a nuclear option will be only for the near term.