Library from Tennessee
Environmental groups in the Tennessee Valley are on the verge of winning their third major battle against TVA's coal-fired power plants. But anti-coal activists are still fighting a larger war against fossil fuel generation of any type by the federal utility.
In 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the company's $2 billion proposal to transmit wind power from the Great Plains to Memphis and the Southeast. That ruling authorized the Houston -based firm to begin negotiating transmission service agreements with potential buyers of the power, including TVA .
As the Tennessee Valley Authority cranks up the 18-month processes to decide how it will generate power for the next 20 years, officials say renewable energy -- namely wind -- will play a big role. Environmental groups say renewables are a great move, but the utility also needs to use energy more efficiently before it tries generating more.
For decades, the renewable energy industry has languished in a state of perpetual infancy, needing to be spoon-fed by an ever-attentive nanny state. Eventually it must walk on its own to survive. Weaning it from the breast of the TVA is a good first step.
"I will continue my efforts to get rid of the 20-year-old, multi-billion-dollar subsidy for unreliable, expensive wind energy that stands no chance of powering our nation's 21st century economy." ...Perhaps just as important, Alexander said, wind turbines would scar the mountaintops of Tennessee, the only place in the state where they can work.
“Over the next 10 years, the wind production tax credit will cost the American taxpayers more than $26 billion….In fact, the tax breaks for the five big oil companies we have been debating on the Senate floor this week actually cost less than this one tax credit for Big Wind. The tax breaks for the five big oil companies amount to about $21 billion over 10 years.”
The Tennesseee Valley Authority favors a Houston company's effort to build an electrical connection between windmills in Oklahoma and Texas and power users in the Tennessee Valley. The proposed $3.5 billion project would use direct current rather than the alternating current.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, looking outside the region to boost its renewable energy portfolio, said Thursday it will buy 450 megawatts of wind power capacity from the Great Plains. The nation's largest public utility has signed 20-year power purchase agreements with Maryland-based CVP Renewable Energy Co. and Chicago-based Invenergy Wind LLC for electricity generated by wind farms they are building in McIntosh County, N.D., and Roberts County, S.D., respectively.
On Thursday, the Johnson City Commission approved a license agreement with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Integration Technology to allow the installation of a wind-monitoring device to be installed on the tower at Buffalo Mountain. Johnson City Manager Pete Peterson said city officials were approached by SACE, and the device would be used to measure and observe things such as wind speed and frequency.
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told a forum on renewable electricity choices last week that solar panels, underwater river turbines, and wood chips "are promising for TVA, but Tennessee mountaintops are absolutely the wrong place for wind turbines three times as tall as Neyland Stadium skyboxes, not to mention the transmission lines that come with them."
Former UT quarterback Heath Shuler knows he'll win few points with some colleagues in Congress when he touts window stripping, and improving the insulation in your home.
Garland is the latest North Texas city considering a zoning ordinance aimed at regulating wind energy devices that generate power for residential use. The measure is on Tuesday's council agenda. Other cities, including Grand Prairie, Waxahachie and Oak Point, already have such ordinances. Residential wind energy devices are rare in urban areas and may be too expensive or impractical for many homeowners. But city officials say they want to make sure rules are in place for the day when wind energy devices become more commonplace.
I was disappointed by your editorial of Sept. 9 titled "Wind power deserves the investment." I expected to find the kind of real cost information on wind power I've been looking for. In the end, I was irritated by its total failure to support the contention implicit in its title.
Tygard is sponsoring a bill that would put restrictions on wind towers that produce energy. He said he wants the public to remember when cell phone towers started popping up and how it caused residential complaints. The councilman said the city needs to make sure that doesn't happen with the wind machines. "What are the height, aesthetic, noise regulations?
Gov. Phil Bredesen phoned home from the National Governors Association (NGA) winter conference this week and reported that - no surprise here - the governors couldn't agree on energy policy. The governors of green states wanted to focus on alternative and renewable energy sources while governors from coal states couldn't warm to the idea of restricting the industry that provides power and jobs to their constituents. ...Bredesen acknowledged that, though development of solar and wind resources is important, neither is yet viable. ...While hearing speakers like Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, and Thomas Friedman, author and columnist for The New York Times, Bredesen said the governors came to a common conclusion - coal is going to be the dominant method for producing electrical power for the foreseeable future.
The Tennessee Valley Authority could be generating more "alternative" energy for less cost, if only the public wasn't so enamored with wind and solar power. Methane gas, formed as human and animal waste or garbage decays, produces more power dollar for dollar. It's half as expensive as wind power and a tenth the cost of solar power, according to TVA figures. But, coming from a stinky mess, it lacks appeal to the rate-paying public. TVA depends on ratepayers' choosing to pay extra to help fund alternative energy sources. "From a marketing viewpoint, it's hard to promote," said Jim Keiffer, TVA senior vice president of marketing. ... That's why TVA's program, Green Power Switch, available through distributors including Nashville Electric Service, requires that at least half the energy it creates come from the favorites: solar and wind.
"It's a puny amount of unreliable power at a very high cost," Alexander said in an interview Thursday with The Tennessean. And then there's the appearance. "We have 10 million people a year come to the Great Smoky Mountains," he said. "They don't come down to see white towers as big as football fields with flashing lights. They come to see the Smokies."
Ratepayers would save money if TVA paid the penalty - estimated at $410 million a year by 2020 - rather than meet a goal of finding 15 percent new energy sources, said U.S. Sen Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. ...The agency's alternative green energy program - of which a wind farm on Buffalo Mountain in East Tennessee is a large part - provides less than one half of 1 percent, and customers have to pay extra to support it.
The post-construction bird/bat mortality survey at the expanded Buffalo Mountain windfarm found an adjusted bat mortality rate of 63.9 bats/turbine/year. This figure is similar in magnitude to the bat mortality recorded in West Virginia (47.5 bats/turbine/year). Fewer bird strikes were recorded in this same survey.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - An industry-sponsored poll suggests most Tennesseans support renewable wind energy, but don't count U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander among them. "I am all for renewable fuels. I am all for clean air and carbon-free electricity," the Tennessee Republican said Tuesday in a conference call from Washington, where the Senate is getting ready to debate an energy bill that could come with renewable energy mandates. But Alexander has no love for windmills. Wind power, he said, "is expensive and disfigures the landscape. It produces a puny amount of power, and it doesn't fit Tennessee."