TVA’s Plan For Growth- An Article By TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash

Jeff Lyash is president and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority. He wrote this in collaboration with the Tennessee Business Forum, which provides Ten­nessee-connected business leaders with the opportunity to engage with other ex­ecutives from various industries to dis­cuss a broad range of national legisla­tive and regulatory issues. Learn more at  See the article here.

Stakeholder Update

TVA May 10 Board Meeting Recap

The Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors on Wednesday recognized the agency’s 90th-anniversary milestone and outlined the agency’s plan to double its solar energy capacity while supporting the Tennessee Valley region’s record-growing demand.

“TVA’s mission of service is just as important today as it was 90 years ago,” said TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash. “We were created as an innovation company, and we will use that same innovative spirit and mission of service as we address today’s challenges. Our region is experiencing growth at six times the national average, which means we must invest in our current power system and build new generation so we can continue meeting our region’s demand.”

TVA’s Approach to Meeting Our Region’s Rapidly Growing Energy Needs – Highlights from CEO Jeff Lyash’s Report

TVA believes the transition to a clean energy economy requires a holistic approach that entails a strategy that must be broad and flexible and should consider the economic and environmental effects of our choices. Also, there is no “one option” that provides all the reliable, affordable, resilient and clean power needed for our future.

And the recent growth of people moving to the Valley and economic development in our region has underscored the need to provide affordable, reliable power today. We are currently building new generation that includes solar, energy storage, combustion turbines and combined-cycle natural gas. But more energy resources are needed to meet load growth, the onshoring of manufacturing, and the electrification of other sectors. TVA is aware that it takes time to study, site, permit, source, and build generation assets; and it is currently taking longer than ever before with additional risk.

To create flexibility and provide information for TVA’s decision-makers, we will begin numerous environmental studies with different near-term and long-term options. These reviews will help us prepare for the future, be more agile in execution, and continue to meet the growing needs of the Valley.

We are conducting a study of the environmental impacts of new solar facilities and additional gas sites and conducting a review of new pumped storage facilities which are needed to balance the intermittency of our growing renewable portfolio. Additionally, we are reviewing individual projects on turbines and generators to increase MWs on the existing hydro-generation fleet.

Importantly, we continue an environmental study on the possible retirement of the Kingston Fossil plant. Due to the need for firm dispatchable power and grid stability in the Eastern part of the system, gas is our preferred alternative for the site and would reduce carbon emissions by approximately 60% and serves as a bridge as other technologies are developed. The Kingston (DEIS) assesses the impacts associated with the retirement of Kingston Fossil Plant units near Kingston, Tenn., and the potential construction and operation of alternative replacement generation, including replacing retired generation with a natural gas plant. We will not make a final decision on retirement and replacement generation without public input at the conclusion of the environmental review, specifically the record of decision planned for publication in early 2024. A public comment period is scheduled from May 19 – July 3. Public comments can be submitted for this and other new studies at Get Involved, Stay Involved (

Over the next few months, we will also be conducting other environmental studies including building a virtual power plant from our energy efficiency and demand response programs which could meet up to 40% of load growth. We will continue to study individual solar projects including the possibility of awarding up to 40 new projects that are being identified through TVA’s Clean Energy RFP and we will finalize environmental studies on providing Local Power Companies more power supply flexibility to bring online additional carbon-free resources and/or storage projects.

Along with our evaluation of the Clinch River site for a small-modular reactor, we anticipate starting environmental reviews of additional potential sites around the Valley. And we remain focused on our goal to reach net-zero.

We will also begin work on the next Integrated Resource Plan which will help us explore options to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Information about these ongoing reviews and how you can participate can be found on our TVA website throughout the summer.

Public Engagement/ Notice of Intent (NOI) – 4 NOIs are posting Friday, May 12

NOIs – announce public comment period and virtual and in-person public meeting and ask for public input on what should and should not be evaluated as part of future environmental reviews. Four NOIs – pumped storage, programmatic solar, Cheatham County, IRP and the Kingston Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are posted for public review and comment along with scheduled public meetings. Find details at Get Involved, Stay Involved (

TVA is building the energy system of the future to enable ongoing and future growth around the Valley, focusing on cleaner and more efficient energy generation while maintaining low rates and reliable power for the 10 million people we are privileged to serve. This effort includes evaluating all our assets to include possible retirement and replacement generation needs as outlined in TVA’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

Additional News

TVA has released its 2022 Sustainability Report. Sustainability for TVA means ensuring its ability to provide the region with affordable and reliable energy, a healthy environment, and a prosperous economy. Accomplishments cited in the report include:

  • Helped attract $10.2 billion in projected capital investments – with 26,512 jobs expected to be created and 40,027 jobs retained
  • Advanced its Environmental Justice Program to help address disproportionate health, environmental, economic and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities
  • Donated more than $9 million in community contributions and disaster relief
  • Announced a partnership with the Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee to study ways all segments of the economy can move the region toward a clean, secure energy future
  • Sponsored 449 total environmental outreach and stewardship projects across the region
  • Completed 120 biodiversity projects and initiatives
  • Prevented an estimated $3 million in flood damage along the Tennessee River

Read the full report at

If you have questions, please contact Cathy Coffey at

Tennessee Valley Authority, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, TN 37902-1499

ATVG Formally Supports Small Modular Reactors In The Valley

ATVG Support of SMRs

By: Mike Arms, ATVG Executive Director

        Our ATVG membership heard a detailed presentation on Winter Storm Elliott from TVA at our January meeting. The presentation provided an hour-by-hour break-down of the events on December 23rd and 24th. The timeline included the loss of Cumberland Unit 1followed a few hours later by the loss of Cumberland Unit 2. With the entire Tennessee River Valley approaching 5 degrees Fahrenheit from a frigid winter storm front that produced a 40 degree temperature drop in a few short hours, the rolling black-outs were mandated to protect the TVA grid. Throughout this weather crisis TVA’s nuclear fleet performed superbly. This nuclear performance begs the question, “Will Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) be the solution to a similar future crisis?”

        ATVG is on record with two resolutions of support for nuclear energy and for SMR’s. Now the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has certified the design for what will be the first SMR in the nation. The new design is inherently safer than the prior large nuclear reactors.

        The rule that certifies this design is now published in the Federal Register. This certification means companies seeking to build and operate a nuclear power plant can pick the design for a 50-mega-watt, advanced light-water SMR by Oregon-based NuScale Power and apply to the NRC for a license.

        The NRC certification is the final determination that the design is acceptable for use, so this design cannot be legally challenged during the licensing process when someone applies to build and operate a nuclear power plant.

        With an approved design in place SMRs are no longer an abstract concept but a new clean, green power source. ATVG has always supported nuclear power as the logical answer for utilities’ transition from fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse emissions. Our organization remains supportive of the Oak Ridge “Clinch Reactor Site” as the first SMR location in the Tennessee Valley. ATVG is also prepared to help communities in the Valley consider SMR locations when appropriate. SMRs are the centerpiece of the next generation of nuclear reactors and will be a source of safe, reliable, and affordable green energy.

ATVG President Elected for 2023

During the Fall meeting of ATVG Board of Directors in Gatlinburg, TN, on October 25, Lamar Paris (Right), Sole Commissioner of Union County, Georgia was elected President of the Association of Tennessee Valley Governments for upcoming year 2023.

Photo: ATVG Executive Director Mike Arms and President-Elect Lamar Paris present a plaque to Bill Newman (Left), out going ATVG President for his leadership and service during 2022.

ATVG 2021 Audit Published

During the meeting of the ATVG Board on April 26, 2022 at Oak Grove, KY, ATVG Treasurer Brent Greer presented the annual audit of the previous budget year.  Mr. Greer stated, “I am pleased there were no findings in the audit for our last budget year completed June 30, 2021.”  The audit was completed by Blackburn, Childers, and Steagall, PLC of Johnson City, TN.  The audit may be viewed here.

ATVG Is Asking Members To Update Contact Information

Mike Arms, ATVG Executive Director is asking for ATVG membership to update their contact information.  This can be easily done through an online form for ATVG members. Members can click this link: with their computer or mobile device and quickly update their contact information.  Director Arms states, “We are looking to update our database with our members most current information for distribution of our quarterly ATVG Newsletter. We want our membership to be as informed as possible on the issues of TVA and TVA local governments.”

TVA and a New Administration

TVA and a New Administration

By Mike Arms, ATVG Executive Director

While many of us were busy with last-minute shopping the week before Christmas, Senator Lamar Alexander was diligently working to complete some critical legislative tasks.  Two of the tasks were ensuring the full Senate confirmations of Dr. Beth Harwell on December 19 and Dr. Brian Noland on December 20 to serve on the TVA Board of Directors.  Speaking for the Association of Tennessee Valley Governments (ATVG) this action was significant for local governments in the 200 counties in TVA’s service region for several reasons.  

A primary reason was that for several months TVA’s nine-member Board of Directors consisted of only five members which is the minimum quorum required to conduct business.  Local governments are one of TVA’s largest customers (consumers of electric power).  Think about the electricity consumed to heat, cool and operate courthouses, city and town halls, justice centers and jails, senior and community centers, parks and recreation centers and, most of all, schools for the 1 million public school students in local systems in the 200 counties in TVA’s seven-state service region.  Stability of the TVA Board is important to local governments and all other TVA stakeholders.  If for any reason the TVA Board membership falls below the five-person quorum it would not be able to make new policy decisions including major financial decisions.  While the agency could continue to operate and produce electricity, its policy actions would be problematic and could always be challenged.  Having a full Board provides more stability as well as representation from multiple states.  

Another reason that local governments are positive about these two new members is that both bring new skill sets to the Board.  Beth Harwell served three decades in the Tennessee legislature and held various leadership positions.  She brings to the TVA Board unique insights into the needs and challenges of local governments.  Brian Noland brings broad experience in the education sector which includes his current role as President of East Tennessee State University.  He has a thorough understanding of the Tennessee Valley’s challenges in workforce development in all areas from engineers and computers scientists to welders and electricians.  He will be an asset in TVA’s economic development mission.  Local government leaders realize the importance of a well-prepared workforce for their local and regional economies.  

TVA now has seven members serving on its Board and two vacancies.  Two of President Trump’s nominations, Charles Cook of Mississippi and Rick Roden of Alabama, did not complete the confirmation process.  These two nominees have strong private sector business experience and economic development experience respectively.  The Senate clock simply ran out before their confirmation hearings could be scheduled and now President Biden will be responsible for these two nominations.  Looking back, the Christmas week confirmations of Harwell and Noland as the Senate session was ending reflect the hard work and political clout of Lamar Alexander.  

So, what happens now?  The Senators in the seven-state TVA region have a “non-binding agreement” that when a Board vacancy occurs the new Board nomination comes from the state where the departing Board member served.  This practice is not dictated by the TVA act.  In fact, up to two Board members can be nominated by the President from a state outside the seven-state TVA service region.  Local governments and probably many other TVA stakeholders would certainly question this action.  Most expect a Biden nomination from both Alabama and Mississippi after consultation with democratic elected officials from the two states.  In May of this year two additional Board terms expire.  Board Chair, John Ryder, a prominent attorney from Memphis who has served as General Counsel for the Republican National Committee and Kenneth Allen, a Kentucky native who has served as a coal company executive will be replaced by Biden nominations.  Then on May 18, 2022 A.D. Frazier a Georgian who served as an executive for the Atlanta Olympic games will see his term expire.  In only 16 months the Biden administration can nominate five new members, each with a five-year term, on the nine-person TVA Board and with the Democratic control of the Senate, confirmation of these nominees should be straightforward.  

What can TVA expect from the new administration?  Certainly, Board member diversity will be addressed.  Currently the TVA Board is composed of six white men and one white woman.  This situation will probably be remedied in the next nominations.  When A.D. Frazier’s term expires undoubtedly the two new Senators from Georgia will weigh in heavily on the replacement.  If climate change initiatives are pushed or the “green new deal” takes any legs, these new ventures can certainly impact TVA policy through a Board majority of Biden appointees.  To TVA’s credit it has made major strides in the reduction of fossil fuels in its fuel mix.  It has been steadfast in its agreement with EPA to do so.  It has made major capital commitments to modernize its nuclear fleet.  It has also proactively addressed renewable fuel sources including solar.  Some stakeholders believe TVA has not done near enough in the renewable arena.  Currently 60% of TVA’s power production is clean energy.  Hopefully, the Biden Administration’s energy initiatives will leverage the unique resources of TVA which has served as a “living laboratory” for energy innovation since its New Deal creation by FDR.  

What do local governments expect?  ATVG realizes policy changes will certainly occur.  However, our organization wants the agency to always have a focus on providing clean, reliable and affordable power while also maintaining strong partnerships with local and state governments in economic development activities.  This focus has been front and center for 87 years and hopefully will remain the agency’s top priority under any Presidential administration.


Mike Arms is Senior Partner at Tennessee Strategies and serves as Executive Director for the Association of Tennessee Valley Governments (