TVA began transmitting 300 MW of wind power

This marks the first delivery under seven contracts TVA recently signed to purchase up to 1,380 MW of renewable wind energy from the Midwest.

“Activation of this new wind power source is an important milestone in our plans to expand TVA’s clean and renewable energy options,” said John Trawick, TVA senior vice president of Commercial Operations and Pricing. “We anticipate a long and productive working relationship with Iberdrola Renewables as we continue to grow our alternative energy portfolio.”

The Iberdrola Renewables purchase agreement is the largest of TVA’s wind power contracts, which altogether may provide enough electricity for about 325,000 average-size homes in the TVA service region.

“Iberdrola Renewables will begin delivering power to TVA under our largest single power purchase agreement to date,” said Ralph Currey, CEO of Iberdrola Renewables. “TVA is an important new customer for us and we look forward to supplying clean, renewable energy for years to come.”

The next purchased wind addition to the TVA power grid will be 115 MW scheduled to arrive this fall from Horizon Wind Energy LLC’s Pioneer Prairie wind farm in Howard and Mitchell counties in Iowa.

Because inconsistent and generally lower-speed winds in the Southeast make local wind power projects less reliable and feasible than in other parts of the nation, TVA is contracting for electricity from wind energy projects in regions such as the Midwest and Great Plains, where winds are generally stronger and more consistent.

The contracts result from a request for proposals in December 2008 to purchase up to 2,000 MW of new renewable or clean energy for TVA’s generating system. TVA’s current renewable energy portfolio includes about 4,800 MW from hydro, wind, solar and methane sources. In addition, TVA’s nuclear plants contribute 6,900 MW of low-or-no-emission electricity to the power grid.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia — an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million.

TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities and supplies up to 36,000 MW of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines.

TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA’s service territory are below the national average.

Brisk winds across the Illinois plains are now blowing clean, renewable energy into the Tennessee Valley Authority service region.