TVA Awarded Utility of the Year by AWEA

Guest Blog | January 11, 2013 | Energy Policy, Wind
In November 2012, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was recognized as the “Utility of the Year” by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The former CEO of AWEA, Denise Bode, said of this unique recognition, “We honor TVA with this award to recognize their accomplishments for wind power in general and how they’ve achieved these results in a way that benefits other utilities and the entire wind energy industry.”

As of last month, TVA has entered into nine contracts with eight mid-western wind farms for the purchase of 1,515 megawatts (MW) of energy. Of that, 1,100 MW (and seven of the nine contracts) were added in 2012 alone. The contracts for these wind farms, located in Illinois, Kansas, and Iowa, are competitive with forecasted electricity market prices and are the result of TVA’s request for proposals issued in December 2008.

TVA’s vision is to be “one of the nation’s leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020.” Their press release said wind energy contracts are an important part of TVA’s renewable energy portfolio, which totals more than 6,300 megawatts of operating or committed energy capacity from hydro, wind, solar, and biomass. is not the first time TVA has stood out in the Southeast on wind energy. In 2000, TVA established a contract (not accounted for above) to procure energy from the first commercial wind farm in the Southeast United States – now with a capacity of 27 MW – on Buffalo Mountain, near Oak Ridge, TN.

SACE applauds TVA’s leadership in identifying cost-effective mechanisms to incorporate wind energy in their supply resource.  The opportunity for southern states to tap the abundant wind resources of the Midwest via transmission lines has caught the attention of utilities and private industry alike.  Alabama Power Company recently started receiving 202 MW of wind energy from a wind farm in Oklahoma, and has been approved by the Alabama Public Service Commission to receive an additional 200 MW by 2014 from a wind farm in Kansas.

While TVA and Alabama Power wind purchases leverage existing transmission lines, several private companies such as Clean Line Energy Partners, are pursuing the development of new high voltage direct current transmission lines to connect additional wind resources to utilities across the south. The technical potential is significant. Wind energy in the south is evolving from a nuanced idea to an actual player in integrated resource planning. SACE plans to continue facilitating conversations with utilities and industry in helping to make wind and other renewable energy sources an economically viable option in the near term.

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