TVA’s Johnson sees no serious regional CO2 talks until final EPA rule

Southern states served by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) have kicked around some ideas on how to work together on compliance with the proposed Clean Power Plan, but not much can happen until a final rule is issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

That was the assessment offered by TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson on Feb. 4 when asked during a financial conference call if states served by TVA had looked at the idea of a regional carbon dioxide (CO2) compliance plan.

“There have been many discussions within our states” and among different states, Johnson said, but they can’t go much farther “until we see what the final rule is,” Johnson said.

The EPA Clean Power Plan instructs states to devise compliance plans to slash CO2 emissions 30% by 2030. EPA has taken millions of comments on the proposal and the final rule could come out this summer.

EPA has indicated that it would welcome multi-state state CO2 reduction efforts akin to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the Northeast.

As a federally-owned utility, TVA has not been as active as some other utilities although TVA has made some comments on the proposal, Johnson said.

One change that TVA definitely wants in the plan is for EPA to award CO2 compliance credit for the construction of the 1,100-MW Watts Bar 2 nuclear unit. Johnson also said during the call that Watts Bar 2 should hopefully enter commercial service by the end of December.

On another EPA-related subject, Johnson said that TVA’s coal fleet is moving from wet storage to dry storage of coal ash. He also said that cleanup is about complete from the Kingston coal ash spill in Tennessee in December 2008.

The event was probably the largest fly ash spill in U.S. history and rendered several homes uninhabitable. “We know this incident should not have happened, but we’ve learned from it,” Johnson said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.