NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) eyes Cheatham County for a new natural gas plant, one advocacy group wants a moratorium on any new natural gas plants in the entire state. 

The group has a petition and they are taking their concerns straight to TVA’s Board of Directors at its meeting Thursday night. 

Roger Babb, manager of the Tennessee Valley Energy Consumer Group, said he has big concerns about a single additional natural gas plant being built in Cheatham County, or anywhere for that matter, in the Tennessee Valley. 

“TVA has on the drawing board perhaps 6,000 megawatts or so more of gas plants that are not committed yet, and there’s just a lot of questions as to whether that’s the right way to go or not, and the integrated resource plan will answer those questions,” said Babb.

The integrated resource plan is already underway, and this petition would like to see the I.R.P. completed before the utility makes any new moves on natural gas plants. 

“The I.R.P. is like when you’re going on a long road trip and you have a map and it tells you which way to go. Without it, you are kind of lost, so the I.R.P. is the map going forward and we need to do that map before we start doing these individual decisions, which may turn out to be wrong,” said Babb. 

Babb has two big concerns regarding new natural gas plants – reliability and cost.

“They continue to predict that natural gas prices are going to be low and smooth going forward, when in reality they are very volatile. So, if gas goes up, it doesn’t affect TVA; they just pass it along to their consumers,” said Babb. “There’s questions of price and reliability during weather extremes.” 

TVA spokesperson Scott Brooks told News 2 that “longer-term, natural gas enables us to add more renewable generation while new technologies are still being developed…Short-term, natural gas generation helps make up for generating capacity we lose as we retire coal unit.” 

“I don’t think that anyone objects to the fact that the coal plants are reaching the end of their life, and it’s time for them to be replaced with something. The question is whether natural gas is the right thing to replace them with,” said Babb. 

Babb will present the petition to TVA’s board at its meeting in Chattanooga Thursday. 

Both the Cheatham County Commission and Ashland City Council recently passed resolutions stating they do not want a new natural gas plant in their backyard.