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County mayor urges TVA to build power plant somewhere else

Local government officials have stepped up their fight against the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) proposed power plant in Cheatham County.


The Kingston Springs Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Aug. 17 against the plant, joining Ashland City, Pleasant View and Cheatham County in formal opposition to the proposal.


Meanwhile, Cheatham County Mayor Kerry McCarver recently met with two TVA officials, including its vice president of regional relations, at his office to ask TVA to reconsider its plans.


“I made it clear to the pair to please go back and report to TVA hierarchy that Cheatham County is solidly against this natural gas plant at the proposed location,” McCarver said in a video posted to Facebook on Aug. 23.


TVA wants to build a natural gas-fired combustion turbine plant and a battery energy storage system on 285 acres of agriculturally zoned land near Ashland City that it acquired in 2020. The plant would generate around 900 megawatts of electricity. The electricity would replace part of the generation capacity lost when TVA retires a coal-fired unit at the Cumberland Fossil Plant in 2028. TVA says the battery storage plant would provide more grid stability as it integrates more solar energy into its power system.


The new power plant also would require the construction of a 12-mile natural gas pipeline and off-site electric power lines.


McCarver said the Lockertsville Road site is not suitable for a power plant since it’s in a rural area 10 miles away from any heavy industry. The only use of this site that would be acceptable to the county would be “solar-only energy production,” McCarver said.


“If TVA wants to be a good neighbor, well, that’s a better option,” he said. “If TVA truly wants to be a good neighbor, they will cease consideration of a gas plant at this location.”


The county would work to buy the tract from TVA if needed to stop the power plant, he said.


“If TVA is just hellbent on this site,” McCarver said, it should at least offer to buy out “all adjoining landowners” because these Cheatham County residents “did not ask for this destruction.”


In its resolution opposing the plant, Kingston Springs said the plant “may have a negative impact on the environment in Cheatham County as well as potential loss of property, and diminished property values.”


Local residents opposed to the project have taken their concerns to TVA at an open house held June 21 in Ashland City. Some traveled to Chattanooga on Aug. 23 to express their concerns at a listening session held by the TVA before its Aug. 24 board meeting.


At that board meeting, TVA announced plans to spend $15 billion over the next three years to build more power plants and upgrade the system to meet rising demand for electricity. It also approved a 4.5 percent rate increase.


A public meeting will be held soon in Cheatham County about the Lockertsville Road project.

McCarver urged TVA decision makers to attend this local meeting so they can “see the real toll” of this power plant on Cheatham County.


As long as he is county mayor, McCarver said, “I will make it as clear as the Sycamore Creek water that runs through that site Cheatham County will never be for sale, and we’re ready to go down swinging when you challenge any of our residents and our quality of life.”

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