Sierra Club pushes against the possibility of Memphis natural gas plants

Samuel Hardiman
Memphis Commercial Appeal
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Local environmental advocates want to make sure Memphis Light, Gas and Water is considering the potentially existential threat of climate change while the city-owned utility is bidding out its power supply. 

The Chickasaw branch of the Sierra Club wrote MLGW leadership and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland a letter that raises issues with a key piece of Memphis' planned electricity strategy — natural gas. 

If Memphis were to leave the Tennessee Valley Authority and be on its own for its electricity supply, MLGW would rely on what could be several natural gas plants for much of the city's power and much of the reliability. MLGW is also seeking bids on renewable energy and battery storage. That planned reliance on natural gas is not what the Sierra Club would like to see. 

"...Beyond the existential threat posed by climate change and the moral imperative to address it, MLGW has a duty to consider the financial implications of a climate-constrained future and the potential impact of a fossil fuel-heavy portfolio on its ratepayers," the Sierra Club wrote. 

Further coverage: Memphis mayor joins call for climate change-fighting measure proposed by Biden administration

'An unprecedented opportunity': Memphis' power supply decision is its best chance to fight climate change

Samuel Hardiman covers Memphis city government and politics for The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or followed on Twitter at @samhardiman. 

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