Overview

This draft report analyzes three questions to assess how the sources of electric power in the Nashville area may affect the area’s competitive position for attracting new businesses:

  1. Are Fortune 500 companies increasingly prioritizing climate and clean energy factors into their economic development decisions?
  2. How do the climate and renewable electricity plans of the Nashville-area grid compare to the plans of power providers for six similarly sized cities with whom Nashville competes for new businesses (competitor cities)?
  3. To what extent will the electricity generation plans for the Nashville-area make it less attractive as companies consider expanding, relocating, or siting new facilities?

Findings

DGA’s analysis finds that corporations are not only increasingly looking to procure renewable and low- or zero-carbon electricity, but that they are also stepping up their efforts to focus investment and new facilities in areas that offer those electricity resources.

Second, DGA’s analysis of TVA’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction commitment, as well as the corresponding analysis for the utilities serving the Nashville area’s competitor cities, shows the grid generation mix and associated carbon emissions (Nashville-area grid) are falling short of its competitor cities in two key areas. It is delivering:

  1. Fewer Greenhouse Gas Reductions – The Nashville-area grid is completely powered by TVA. TVA’s GHG reduction target, and by extension the Nashville-area grid’s carbon reduction target, is weaker than its competitors for two reasons. First, TVA’s GHG reduction target is an “intensity” target, measuring how much GHG it emits per unit of electricity produced. If electricity use were to increase due, for example, to the electrification of the transportation and buildings sectors, the total GHG emissions of the Nashville-area grid could increase. By contrast, five out of the six utilities that serve the Nashville area’s competitor cities—Austin, Charlotte, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Raleigh—use absolute GHG reduction targets. This means that their emissions cannot increase above that level, even if electricity use were to increase. Second, TVA has made no commitment to decrease its emissions beyond 2030. By contrast, five out of the six utilities that serve the Nashville area’s competitor cities—Austin, Charlotte, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Raleigh—have committed to emissions reductions targets out to 2050 or to achieve zero emissions before 2050.
  2. Less Renewable Energy – The Nashville-area grid is expected to average between 10 to 15 percent growth in total renewable energy generation capacity for each of the 30 portfolios outlined in TVA’s 2019 IRP by 2038. The two potential portfolios used in this analysis range from 8 percent to 17 precent growth in renewable generating capacity by 2038. However, this percentage is well below four of the six competitor cities—Austin, Columbus, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis—based on each current utility’s planned renewable generation capacity additions. Additionally, if both potential portfolios for the Nashville-area grid used in this analysis are projected out to 2050 at the same rate and their competitor cities are projected out to 2050 on a path to meet their carbon commitments (assuming no additional nuclear additions or retirements), TVA’s percentage of total renewable capacity on is on average 40 percent less than each competitors in 2050.

 

The draft report is available for download here.