- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee’s Republican U.S. senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, are questioning why the Tennessee Valley Authority is placing greater emphasis on renewable energy as part of its long-term plans.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports (https://bit.ly/1AgUfmX ) that the senators in a meeting with the public utility on Monday said renewable sources of energy add costs and uncertainty. Alexander said TVA should focus on nuclear power generation instead of what he called the latest “fad.”

The senators also questioned why the TVA is considering buying electricity generated by wind farms in the Midwest.

“I think our ratepayers and our jobs are better served when TVA sticks to its mission of low-cost power instead of chasing the latest energy fad,” he said. “The goal of TVA is not to build windmills; it’s to provide low-cost electricity.”

TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson said a draft of its Integrated Resources Plan, which was released in March and calls for increasing the use of renewable energy, is only a guide.

“I’m sure it won’t unfold over the next 20 years exactly as we think, but it’s a good directional document,” he said.

Johnson said a mix of energy sources will help TVA ensure reliability and low costs, and the utility will only agree to buy wind power if it is cost-effective.

“We will not do anything just because it seems like a good idea or we just want to do it,” he said. “The way the IRP works, you are projecting things 15 to 20 years from now and with current projections some of the renewables are going to be more cost-effective than conventional resources.”

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, https://www.knoxnews.com

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