Jun 22 2010
08:00 am

The News Sentinel has a follow up on TVA's decision to suspend their Green Switch Generation Partners program.

Solar power companies are banding together to see what can be done about it. They at least want TVA to enroll projects that are already underway. They would also like to see program limits increased.

Why are there even limits in the first place? Seems like TVA should be promoting as much green power generation as possible.

What this episode illustrates, however, is that TVA is not and never has been serious about alternative energy. It's all just lip service because Big Coal is in charge of Tennessee's energy future and TVA executives get Big Bonuses to keep it that way.

Hayduke's picture

TVA is the evil twin of BPA

TVA is the evil twin of BPA (Bonneville Power Administration) on the West coast as far as green power. BPA factors the long-term costs of their non-renewable facilities into their pricing formula figures green is cheaper. TVA charges a penalty for using it.

A request from last year for proposals and information on renewable energy sources they can include:

Factchecker's picture

I hope this is really just

I hope this is really just the $50 million seed money early depletion they say it is. I have low expectations about this outcome too, but it just doesn't make sense otherwise. The energy auditor hired by TVA who came to our house said TVA has finally caught up to where California utilities (maybe other than BPA) were in the '70s, saying in effect that TVA is almost desperate to find new capacity without building long term $$$ nukes or more dirty coal plants. Buying from other utilities, too, is very expensive and inefficient.

Let's hope that it's no worse than one side of the utility not knowing what the other is doing. And that they get together and soon restore the program the way it was.

rikki's picture

the rest of the story

I did some digging for Metro Pulse to try to understand this. It's a stretch to say the $50M is nearing depletion, but TVA signs 10-year contracts with Generation Partners, so they look at the total value of the contract. But then the urgency of the suspension doesn't make a lot of sense.

What does make sense is that TVA wants GP to be available to customers who use renewable power to offset their own demand, but not to energy producers, who they'd rather negotiate with as independent producers. And they got their first application for a production array under GP.

Factchecker's picture

Thanks, Rikki. I'm thinking

Thanks, Rikki. I'm thinking about not waiting much longer before applying. Still trying to prioritize it with other stuff, though.

Mary the prez's picture


You guys are all right on. It is a travesty that TVA should be able to control Green Power and alternative sources of energy.

And yes, TVA, with EPA help, is still stuck with coal and will be for years to come. And their nuke power plants are way-too-expensive white elephants. The ones built back in the 70s and 80s cost billions and are failures...nowhere to put the nuke waste. They leak, spill, go 'off line', and one hasn't even been completed. And just like the BP oil disaster, it is obvious that TVA never had any disaster prevention plans. The Kingston TN area is still suffering from 2 polluted rivers and a huge lake where toxins are still pouring in daily. They decided, with EPA secret contracts, to ship all the toxic sludge to a poor County in AL. The folks there are now suffering the same health symptoms that Roane County residents still have.

And of course, the final kicker is all the lies Tom Kilgore told about who would end up paying for their huge mistakes...we are now in the 3rd raise in rates by TVA.

And the folks in Roane County deserve the truth. The latest decision about where to store the rest of the toxic, radioactive coal ash (in a Roane County landfill!) will continue to pollute the ground water, air, and land for years.

How dare TVA tell folks they cannot create their own energy...does anybody know?

rikki's picture

TVA is not telling anyone

TVA is not telling anyone they can't create their own energy. In fact, they're still paying $1000 for the meters and converters to attach you to the grid so they'll buy your excess power. They are also recognizing that solar's peak output occurs in perfect synchrony with peak summer demand for air conditioning, which is also when their nuke plants are most likely to have be shut down to prevent overheating the river, so it's conceivable they could offer even better rates for solar power in the future.

That's particularly true if Congress decides to end the long tradition of socialized pollution upon which coal and oil fortunes depend and instead adopt a carbon tax (or the make-work version for attorneys and brokers, cap-and-trade). It would also help if the TVA Board and CEO were at least literate enough to recognize that overwhelming the planet's ability to absorb carbon is, in fact, a dangerous thing. That was certainly not true with Baxter. I'm not sure about the current honchos.

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