TVA adjusts Generation Partners program

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Published: July 14,2010

Tags: energy, renewable energy, utilities

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has resumed enrollments in its Generation Partners pilot program for renewable electricity projects of up to one megawatt in generation capacity to help encourage the development of solar, wind and other non-traditional electricity sources.

Under the new plan announced yesterday to address the unexpectedly fast growth in the pilot project, TVA will: process all participation agreements submitted by Aug. 31 for qualifying systems from 201 kilowatts up to 999 kilowatts; maintain the existing pilot project for systems of up to 200 kilowatts or less; and, extend the deadline to install approved projects from six months to one year for all systems larger than 200 kilowatts.

After these adjustments are in place, longer-term modifications will be considered to accommodate ongoing growth and interest in projects greater than 200 kilowatts. TVA will be collaborating with both distributors and renewable developers to provide input into these long-term opportunities.

The changes in the Generation Partners pilot program will support efforts to increase low-emission and zero-emission sources of electricity for TVA’s Green Power Switch program. Now in its 11th year, the program includes 113 distributors and about 12,000 residential and more than 500 commercial participants. Their voluntary renewable energy purchases, sold in $4 blocks of 150 kilowatt-hours a month, have offset nearly 450,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equal to the amount produced from using about a million barrels of oil or 50 million gallons of gasoline.

TVA briefly held up new Generation Partner enrollment in June to adjust to overwhelming customer response and develop a plan for addressing the large number of projects proposed. The surge in applications came in April after TVA began approving participation in advance to make it easier for customers to finance projects.

On June 23, TVA resumed enrollment of projects of 200 kilowatts or less. Under the changes announced then and yesterday, qualifying solar, wind, biomass or hydroelectric projects of up to 999 kilowatts will be eligible for the Generation Partners incentives, which include a $1,000 payment to offset startup costs. In addition, TVA will buy 100 percent of the green power that participants produce, paying the retail rate, plus any fuel cost adjustment, and a premium per kilowatt-hour, depending on the type of renewable energy produced.

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