Tennessee Valley Authority will now allow some local power companies to generate solar


The Tennessee Valley Authority announced today that an Environmental Assessment determined a “finding of no significant impact” that will greenlight most local power companies across the Tennessee Valley to locally generate a portion of their own load to meet customer needs.

“TVA’s integrated resource strategy continues to bring cleaner, greener power to the region while maintaining low rates and reliability. This option empowering local generation adds another avenue to grow distributed and renewable energy resources across the Valley,” said Doug Perry, TVA senior VP of commercial energy solutions. “Working with our local power company partners, we continue to bring new solutions to market that reduce carbon, meet changing customer needs and attract jobs into our communities.”

“This is very positive for our community, and we see a need for local generation right now,” said BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes. “Customers demand additional solar power, and now we can have local solutions in place to quickly improve the competiveness of our region by proactively meeting those demands.”

Currently, 140 of 154 TVA local power companies have entered into 20-year long-term partnership agreements with TVA. These agreements allow the local companies to reduce the amount of energy they buy from TVA by generating up to 5% of their average energy needs. The local power companies will then put the locally generated energy on their distribution system for customers’ use.

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. Through the flexibility provision, local power companies will collectively be able to deploy between 800 MW and 2,000 MW of distributed generation, based on resource type, if all 154 companies took advantage of the long-term partnership agreements.

“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, Knoxville Utilities Board president and CEO. “Our investments in solar through the Green Invest program have allowed KUB to start making real improvements in our power supply mix, and this contract flexibility gives us another way to support our community’s climate goals in the years to come.”

In March, KUB announced that it is partnering with TVA under the Green Invest program to produce carbon-free energy equivalent to 8% of KUB’s annual electrical load. This will be in addition to the up to 5% of annual load that it may now generate locally and options available through the TVA Green portfolio of renewable solutions.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

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