Finding the Right Mix
TVA Starts Integrated Resource Planning to Ensure a Bright Future for Region
For 90 years, TVA has worked to make life better for the people who live in the seven-state region it serves.
Key to executing that mission is ensuring TVA has the right mix of generation assets to provide power to the region. That mix will provide electricity – now and in the future – that is affordable, reliable, resilient and increasingly clean.
Developing the energy system of the future – and determining the generating resources that make up that energy system – is a process. It includes working closely with a variety of stakeholders to understand varying viewpoints as well as evaluating technologies, considering operational costs, studying environmental impacts, monitoring demand for power, and modeling potential scenarios.
To help TVA determine the right approach to providing power now and in the future, the agency is kicking off its next Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to study how to best meet customer demand for electricity between now and 2050.
Now’s the Time
The TVA Board approved the current IRP in 2019.
At the time, the Board directed TVA to monitor key metrics, including demand for electricity, commodity prices, and unit operating costs, to inform when the IRP should be re-evaluated and refreshed.
The Board also stated the next IRP should be initiated no later than 2024.
Brian Child, TVA vice president of Enterprise Planning, said the current Integrated Resource Plan has and continues to serve TVA well, but there’s no doubt the world and operating environment have evolved since 2019.
“We want to make sure that with the pace of change we’re seeing, we don’t find ourselves operating in an environment that’s different than what our Integrated Resource Plan contemplated,” Child said. “That’s the reason we’ve decided that now is the right time for our next IRP.”
How Does Resource Planning Work?
TVA will collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders to envision the energy generation needs of the future.
The process is based on a least-cost planning framework and will provide guidance on the types of generating resources TVA should utilize. The IRP will serve as a foundation for developing TVA’s next long-range financial plan.
Key steps of the resource planning process include:
- Estimate future customer demand for electricity
- Identify supply of energy resources currently available to meet customer demand and how those available resources may change in the future
- Calculate the gap between the existing resource supply and future customer demand
- Identify all energy supply sources to be considered for filling the gap
- Test different resource combinations to evaluate performance
- Select the preferred combination of resources or target power supply mix
What Will Be Included in the IRP?
Resource planning is about optimizing the mix of future generating resources.
That means ensuring TVA will meet power demands while best serving current and future residents of the region.
Specifically, the IRP will evaluate different ways to generate power, including renewable energy such as solar, battery storage, and other generating assets.
The evaluation will include reviewing generating options, system requirements for generation, anticipated ongoing electrification and load growth in the region, environmental impacts from each option, and the impacts on communities.
IRP and the Environment
As TVA, the region and the nation march toward net-zero carbon emissions and a clean energy economy, and in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), TVA will assess the region-wide impact of the next IRP on a variety of environmental factors.
These factors include as air quality and climate impacts, land and water resources, waste production, and socioeconomic and environmental justice concerns.
TVA will issue a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement when the draft IRP is issued, estimated to be in the spring of 2024.
How Can the Public Get Involved?
“Stakeholder engagement and input is a key component of both developing the options outlined in the IRP as well as the NEPA process,” said Melanie Farrell, TVA vice president of External Strategy & Regulatory Oversight. “Seeking input and listening to our customers and stakeholders is foundational to our mission of serving this region.”
People may provide comments on what should be considered and evaluated in the IRP during the public scoping period, which closes on July 3.
Public meetings – virtual and in-person – will be scheduled over the coming months to discuss progress on the IRP, and a stakeholder working group has been established to work closely with TVA to assist in the development of the IRP.
In addition, public meetings will be scheduled when the draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement is published.
“This is an exciting time for TVA, the utility industry, and our region,” Child said. “Ultimately, the IRP serves as a compass for TVA, offering a strategic direction for how TVA can continue to provide affordable, reliable and increasingly clean power to the residents of the seven-state region we serve.”
Visit tva.com/irp for information about the IRP and ways to provide public comments.