KNOXVILLE, Tenn., July 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Tennessee Valley Authority's successful strategy to balance consumer demand for renewable energy through Green Power Switch with renewable generation from the Generation Partners initiative placed 10 local power companies among the top providers of solar power in the region and nation in 2010.
"That balance has been a key to success," said Bob Balzar, TVA vice president for Energy Efficiency and Demand Response. "From the start, these two programs were designed to work together to stimulate small scale renewable projects in the TVA region, jump start the market for local renewable power, and provide customers with a low cost renewable option."
The Solar Electric Power Association ranked Knoxville Utilities Board seventh regionally for total solar megawatts added in 2010 by their customers through Generation Partners and fourth regionally for watts per customer. Nashville Electric Service ranks 10th regionally for total solar megawatts added in 2010 by their customers.
Three member-owned cooperatives that distribute TVA power are in the national top 10 for total megawatts added last year by co-ops: Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. in Murfreesboro, Tenn.; North Georgia Electric Membership Corp. in Dalton, Ga., and Tri-State Electric Membership Corp. in Blue Ridge, Ga.
"One of the most important factors in all of TVA's successful renewable energy initiatives has been the teamwork and cooperation of our distributor partners," Balzar said. "They helped bring renewable power to the TVA service area."
Balzar said Generation Partners' growth in the past year has exceeded the pace of the voluntary customer participation in Green Power Switch. TVA is reviewing and developing new strategies for both programs in order to maintain a balance between the two initiatives, he said.
The focus will be on the original vision to promote small-scale generation projects and longer-term goals to ensure continued success and sustainability of TVA's renewable energy programs. Streamlining processes and procedures, and potentially introducing new products and programs also will be considered.
TVA officials will work with power distributors, renewable developers, program participants and other interested parties before making any program changes. Until then, TVA will honor existing agreements and accept new projects under Generation Partners, which has been a successful initiative since its launch in 2003.
"Generation Partners is now producing 17 megawatts of renewable power with more than 50 additional megawatts under contract. This program has unquestionably spurred economic growth throughout the region, catalyzed the regional infrastructure for the solar industry, and supported a growing solar component manufacturing sector in the region," said John Trawick, senior vice president of Commercial Operations and Pricing.
"These initiatives to produce clean, renewable power are part of our renewed Vision to be one of the nation's leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020," Balzar said. "As the nation moves toward more low-carbon and non-carbon fuel sources, TVA is committed to being one of the nation's leaders in low-emission power."
For more information on the SEPA rankings, visit http://www.solarelectricpower.org/solar-tools/sepa-utility-solar-rankings.aspx.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states at prices below the national average. TVA, which receives no taxpayer money and makes no profits, also provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists utilities and state and local governments with economic development.
SOURCE Tennessee Valley Authority