Oak Ridge first EPA green power community in Southeast

KNOXVILLE—The Tennessee Valley Authority has been recognized as a Top 10 utility leader in green power program sales, and Oak Ridge has been designated the first Green Power Community in the Southeast by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wind turbines at the Buffalo Mountain Wind Farm north of Oliver Springs generate electricity for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

TVA was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In the first NREL Top 10 ranking in a decade, TVA landed at No. 9 nationally with green power sales of 199,067 megawatt-hours in calendar 2013, thanks to TVA’s Renewable Energy Solutions programs and participating local power companies, a press release said.

Oak Ridge is one of the participating communities, and it received the EPA designation based in part on TVA green power purchases. TVA and Oak Ridge officials had a brief ceremony to celebrate during a Monday night Oak Ridge City Council meeting.

“TVA is proud to be recognized nationally for our strong and growing support of renewable energy,” said Patty West, director of TVA’s Renewable Energy Solutions. “Cost-effective, renewable energy is an important part of TVA’s diverse portfolio of energy-generation sources.”

A key to TVA’s renewable energy sales has been Green Power Switch, or GPS, which TVA launched on Earth Day 2000 with local power companies and members of the environmental community as the first-of-its-kind renewable power purchase program in the Southeast, the press release said.

GPS gives consumers and businesses the opportunity to buy 150-kilowatt-hour blocks of renewable energy generated in the Valley from solar, wind, and biomass conversion for $4 per block.

“Our local power company partners have enthusiastically supported this effort and, through their efforts, more than 12,600 residential and business customers are currently buying GPS energy blocks,” West said in the press release.

The City of Oak Ridge increased its GPS participation from about 500 local customers to more than 800 during a two-month campaign to achieve the EPA Green Power Community designation. That represents more than 5 percent of Oak Ridge’s customers, and the highest rate of any community in the Green Power Switch program.

Since the program began, GPS customers have supported 1,062,260 megawatt-hours of renewable energy in the Tennessee Valley, enough to supply the electricity needs for more than 66,300 average homes in the TVA service area.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors, serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation, and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

Courtesy: http://oakridgetoday.com/2014/07/15/oak-ridge-first-epa-green-community-southeast-tva-top-10-green-power-sales/

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