Recently, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which provides electricity for local power companies and business customers while serving almost 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states, gave the green light to the local power companies to generate portions of their own power with renewables and other green power sources.
In making its announcement, TVA noted that its Environmental Assessment determined a “Finding of No Significant Impact,” meaning that most of the local power companies that get their power from TVA will be able to generate portions of their own loads from green power to meet local customer demand.
Currently, 140 of the 154 local power companies are involved in 20-year long term partnership agreements (LTPAs) with TVA, which allows them to reduce the amount of energy they purchase from TVA by generating up to 5% of their own energy needs.
“The final Environmental Assessment presents a revised preferred alternative that allows for 2.5 times more solar than was defined in the draft Environmental Assessment, which was open for public comment this spring,” said TVA. “Through the flexibility provision, LPCs [local power companies] will collectively be able to deploy between 800 [megawatts] MW and 2,000 MW of distributed generation, based on resource type, if all 154 LPCs took advantage of the LTPA.”
“TVA’s integrated resource strategy continues to bring cleaner, greener power to the region while maintaining low rates and reliability,” said Doug Perry, TVA’s senior vice president, commercial energy solutions. “This option empowering local generation adds another avenue to grow distributed and renewable energy resources across the Valley.”
One utility taking advantage of the new opportunity is the Knoxville Utilities Board, which announced in March that it was partnering with TVA under the Green Invest program to produce carbon-free energy equivalent to 8% of its annual electric load. This is in addition to the up to 5% of annual load that it may now generate locally through the new program.
“We are excited to see this announcement and pleased to see how TVA has reflected the value of solar in its approach to contract flexibility,” said Gabriel Bolas, president and CEO of Knoxville Utilities Board.