TVA Invests in a Greener Future

What is TVA’s Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President John Thomas doing to ensure the region has reliable, clean electricity at the lowest cost possible? Investing.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 – When you think of a chief financial officer, what words come to mind? Conscientious, frugal, penny-wise? John Thomas, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of the largest public utility in the United States is all of those things. But, when you add clean energy into the mix, Thomas uses another word to describe himself: investor.

“TVA is committed to a lower carbon future,” says Thomas. “Investment in our Watts Bar 2 nuclear plant is providing 1,100 megawatts of carbon-free generation to the portfolio. Additionally, we are investing approximately $8 billion over the next 20 years to enhance our clean, efficient, affordable, renewable energy portfolio. Renewable energy is an investment in our future as it provides tremendous health benefits and economic development opportunities for the Tennessee Valley.”

By the Numbers

In June of 2016, President Obama joined with the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and the President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto in laying out a continental goal of 50 percent clean power generation by the year 2025.

By investing in non-carbon-emitting energy generation over the years, TVA’s management team has put the company on the path to a greener future that is ahead of many of its utility peers and even the President’s goal, according to Thomas.

TVA has one of the lowest carbon footprints among Southeast utilities and currently exceeds President Obama’s 2025 goal. Nearly 55 percent of TVA’s current generating sources are carbon-free, and TVA is on track to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

“In 10 years, we [TVA] have reduced our carbon-emitting generating sources by 33 percent,” Thomas says. “That is a huge win, but we’re not standing still. We’re focused on increasing that number to 61 percent by 2026.”

Sustainability Pie Charts

TVA's asset portfolio is becoming cleaner and more diversified. Non-emitting resources are forecasted to increase from 32% in 2007 to 61 in 2026.

Improving Air Quality

TVA’s green energy measures have had a real impact on the communities it serves. The region has never measured such clean air quality (see sidebar, right) in all parts of the Valley, including those in urban, rural and mountain areas.

With the help of local health departments and various industries, the region was rewarded for its clean-air efforts when, in July of 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency re-designated Shelby County, Tenn., from ozone non-attainment to ozone attainment.


Today, vehicle emissions are the largest source of ozone in the Valley. To help reduce vehicle emissions, TVA is supporting the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority by installing electric vehicle charging stations throughout Chattanooga, Tenn.

A Bright Future

TVA currently has approximately 7,400 MWs of carbon-free, renewable energy capacity, including solar, wind, hydro and pumped-storage.

TVA’s mission, in addition to economic development and environmental stewardship, is to provide power at the lowest cost possible. As a public power provider, TVA puts every dollar back into the business to best serve the people of the region.

“The renewable energy investments we are making now, and down the road, best position TVA for a greener future,” Thomas explains. “These investments will keep the Valley a wonderful place to live, work and play for many years to come.”

Air Quality Matters!

That's why TVA has worked tirelessly to improve air quality, realizing steady declines in rates of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions. Thanks to it's efforts, and those of Valley businesses and local regulators—the Valley's air is at its cleanest, having recently achieved Valleywide ozone standard compliance. Read more about TVA's air quality successes.

A Vision for the Future

Want to learn more about coming changes to TVA's power portfolio? TVA's Integrated Resource Plan is a planning roadmap to 2033 that explores the ways the agency can continue to meet power demand in new and innovative ways while balancing demands for environmental stewardship and economic development. Click here to learn more about the Integrated Resource Plan.