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TVA directors to discuss renewable energy at meeting

November 16, 2011

By STEVEN NALLEY
citybeat@bellsouth.net

The Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors will hold a public meeting 9 a.m. today at Mississippi State University’s Hunter Henry Center.
Before the board addresses items on the agenda, the public will be able to comment on any of those items in a public listening session at 9 a.m. On-site registration will be available until 15 minutes before the public listening session begins, and pre-registered speakers will be allowed to address the board first. Management from TVA will answer questions from the media at a press conference after the meeting.
Mike Bradley, a TVA media relations staffer, said one of the primary subjects of discussion will be TVA’s renewable energy programs. He said TVA announced its vision for cleaner power last year, working to become a national leader in nuclear energy and a regional leader in energy efficiency. For example, he said, executives at the meeting are likely to discuss ways to increase participation in TVA’s Green Power Switch program, which allows TVA customers to contribute as little as $4 per month to enable TVA to generate 150 kilowatt-hours of electricity from a renewable resource, usually solar energy.
“There will be some new products and new angles there that we will be talking about, so more people will participate in it,” Bradley said. “Also, the cost ... of creating solar (energy) for solar farms through panels has gone down in the last year or two (by) 25-30 percent. Given that, we want to adjust accordingly just to adjust with the market. We’ll be looking at all the options and the variables associated with cost of solar, the production caps on our different programs, the incentives we pay and those kinds of things.”
In addition to Green Power Switch, TVA has two other renewable energy programs.
The first is Generation Partners, through which TVA incentivizes alternative energy programs by buying electricity they generate at a premium. The Golden Triangle Regional Landfill joined with Generation Partners to implement a facility which converts methane gas emanating from the landfill into one megawatt of electricity. The facility held an opening ceremony in October.
Bradley said Generation Partners is currently tailored to projects generating up to 200 kilowatts of electricity, a limitation implemented in Summer 2011 after the GTRL partnership. He said TVA has a separate program for facilities generating 200 kilowatts to 20 megawatts called the Renewable Standard Offer, which offers set prices for power generated by green technology.
At the meeting, Bradley said, it is likely TVA will consolidate these three programs under the name “Green Power Providers Program.” He said TVA executives want to balance the company’s renewable energy program, minimizing the tweaks it has seen in the past so it will remain sustainable for the next 20 years.
“We’ve asked a lot of stakeholders, ‘What do you want most?’ and they’ve said, ‘We want certainty,’” Bradley said. “What we’re looking to do is to get a long-term program that won’t change all the time.”
Another key agenda item, Bradley said, is a report from TVA’s People and Performance Committee. One of the items they will report on, he said, is TVA’s management of recovery and power restoration in the wake of the April 27 tornadoes, which heavily damaged the city of Smithville, Webster County and Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“The recovery in Mississippi was relatively quick,” Bradley said. “It was a matter of days. In Alabama, it took considerably longer, but there was a lot more damage and there were a lot of other factors involved in that. But the recovery here in our Mississippi district went well. It was a strong recovery from the storm.”

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