Tennessee Valley Authority Adds 484MW of Solar, Plus 50MW of Batteries

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced this week that it has
contracted for 484 megawatts of solar power in the past two months,
part of its push to expand its clean energy portfolio and reduce
its reliance on coal power. 

The awards announced this
week, which include one 200-megawatt solar system paired with a 50
megawatts/200 megawatt-hour battery system, will increase the
TVA’s share of solar generation by 44 percent. The seven-state
federal power agency gets less than 3 percent of its power from
wind and solar today, compared to 39 percent nuclear, 26 percent
natural gas, 21 percent coal-fired, and 10 percent
hydropower. 

But TVA’s long-range integrated
resource plan (IRP
) calls for adding between 1,500 and 8,000
megawatts of solar by 2028, along with up to 2,400 megawatts of
energy storage, to serve the utilities and customers it supplies
across seven states. By 2038, TVA could see as much as 14
gigawatts of solar on its system, a rate of increase that equates
to roughly 700 megawatts per year over the next 20 years. 

The winning projects announced Tuesday were selected out of a
total of 3,700 megawatts of proposals submitted to an April 2019
RFP for TVA’s newly launched Green Invest program, which is
aimed at providing large corporate power purchasers with renewable
energy. It’s modeled on the work TVA has done with big data
center customers like Facebook

and Google
, which are demanding 100-percent clean energy
options from
utilities across the Southeast
.

The first Green Invest project, a 35-megawatt solar system
developed by Nashville-based Silicon Ranch in partnership with
Vanderbilt University and municipal utility Nashville Electric
Service, was announced
in January
. Silicon Ranch will also be developing a solar
project of up to 80 megawatts in Madison
County, Tennessee
.

Florida-based developer Origis Energy won two contracts,
including a 100-megawatt solar farm in Obion County, Tenn., and a
200-megawatt solar system with 200 megawatt-hours of batteries
in Lowndes
County, Mississippi
. Spanish developer OPD Energy will develop
a fifth, 69-megawatt project in Simpson County, Kentucky. 

TVA, which provides power across Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee,
Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia, has also
pushed ahead on closing uncompetitive and aging coal-fired
power plants
, despite opposition from the industry and the
Trump administration. Last week it followed through on an April
2019 decision to close its last operating unit of the Paradise
Fossil Plant in Kentucky.    

TVA’s investments in utility-scale solar have come as it reduced
compensation for energy generated by customer-owned solar panels,
a move that prompted
some backlash
from rooftop solar advocates. TVA justified the
shift in incentives based on the lower cost of utility-scale solar,
a thesis echoed by other Southeast U.S. utilities including

Duke Energy
,
Dominion Energy
and
Florida Power & Light
, which have been investing heavily in
large-scale solar. 

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
Tennessee Valley Authority Adds 484MW of Solar, Plus 50MW of Batteries