TIAA has directly financed the construction of at least two gigawatt-class gas fired power plants, one in Dover New York and one in Carrollton, OH. The New York plant, Cricket Valley Energy is one of the largest natural-gas power plants in the Northeast. It burns fracked natural gas (methane) piped in via the Iroquois pipeline to produce 1,100 megawatts of electric power. CVE will pump at least 6 million tons of greenhouse gasses and thousands of tons of other toxic pollutants into the air each year. According to CVE’s own documents, the plant will emit over 279 tons of nitrogen oxides, 570 tons of carbon monoxide, and more than 60 tons of sulfuric acid and its precursors. All of this pollution will disburse throughout the Harlem and Hudson Valleys upon the prevailing winds, then spill over into neighboring Connecticut.
Considered to be an attack on efforts to slow climate change and on the public health of the surrounding communities, CVE’s construction has triggered protests from every corner of New York.
TIAA/nuveen’s decision to purchase 35% of the Cricket Valley Energy Center cost in the neighborhood of 400 Million dollars. However, this investment will soon become a “stranded asset” as New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requires the decommissioning of all fossil fuel powered electric plants before 2040. Not only has TIAA paid to construct a greenhouse gas megafactory, they will be forced to shutter the facility long before the cost of construction will be recouped.
The following is quoted from Derek Seidman’s excellent article Five Things Organizers Should Know About the Cricket Valley Fracked Gas Plant published by littlesis.org. This article was the inspiration for our TIAA-Divest! campaign.
TIAA has a 35% stake in the plant. Do its clients that have pledged to divest from fossil fuels know this?
TIAA is a huge money manager that oversees over $1 trillion in assets of more that 15,000 institutions and 5 million individuals. TIAA is also a major investor in CVEC. A TIAA attorney’s website states that he helped “TIAA-CREF in connection with TIAA Oil and Gas Investments’ acquisition of a 35% interest in Cricket Valley Energy Center from APNA Holdings, a subsidiary of Advanced Power AG.” TIAA is also an investor in Advanced Power’s Carroll County Energy Center.
The TIAA-Divest! campaign demands that TIAA sell it’s share of CVE and Carrollton, or preferably, terminate operations of both plants immediately. This is one of the four foundational demands of our campaign.
UPDATE: Cricket Valley Lawyers petition to intervene in plan to bring renewable upstate power to New York City area.
TIAA-Divest! has learned that in September 2019, lawyers representing CVE filed a Request to Intervene notice with the New York Public Service Commission. In this document, CVE asserts that its financial interests would be harmed if power grid transmission upgrades designed to bring upstate renewable power to New York City were allowed to proceed. We asked TIAA representatives if they agreed with this strategy, here’s their reply:
“TIAA continues to support the transition to a clean energy future.
Specifics at the project level, conditions in the broader market, and
anticipated future trends are all considerations in the investment
decision making process“
If you can figure out how this answers our question, please email TIAA-Divest! and let us know. Until then we’ll continue to demand that TIAA get out of the climate destruction business.