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PostPosted: Sep 11, 2018 10:57 pm 
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Power demand may slow, requiring more flexibility for TVA

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The Tennessee Valley Authority needs to have more flexibility as America's biggest government utility adapts to a changing power market with a less certain future, according to the architects of a new 20-year strategic plan. Unlike previous long-term power plans which differed only in how much electricity demand would rise, TVA's new integrated resource plan taking shape by power planners foresees a possible decline in power use in the Tennessee Valley. Although the demand for TVA-generated power once grew by more than 7 percent a year, electricity demand in the Valley appears to have peaked nearly a decade ago and TVA President Bill Johnson said he expects only flat to declining demand in the future. But electric-powered vehicles and more economic growth could still push up future power demand, especially during summertime and winter peaks. Hunter Hydas, project manger for the Integrated Resource Plan, said the key to success for TVA in the future will be flexibility in its power portfolio and response capabilities as more consumers generate their own electricity from rooftop solar and wind turbines while still relying upon TVA for power when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shun. "In the last integrated resource plan (released in 2015), all scenarios had increasing energy utilization across the 20-year planning horizon," Hydas said Monday during a public, online update of TVA's long-range plan. "For the 2019 plan, we have designed a much wider band of potential futures for energy escalation or de-escalation." TVA, which has shut down more than half of the 59 coal-fired generation units it once operated, is looking at closing the last remaining unit at the Paradise Fossil Plant in Kentucky and the single-unit Bull Run Fossil plant near Oak Ridge. Within the next 20 years, other aging TVA coal plants at Kingston, Shawnee and Gallatin could enter the end of their useful lives and the extended license for the reactors at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant will expire and TVA must decide whether to ask for another extension of its oldest nuclear plant or shut down the reactors. Within the next five to 10 years, other long-term power purchase agreement with other energy producers also will end and will have to be either extended, renegotiated or terminated. TVA is trying to develop its 20-year plan for the future — along with the required Environmental Impact Statement for its future plans — for public release in February. Following pubic hearings and comments, TVA directors will vote on the long-range power plan next August when it takes up the 2020 fiscal budget. The goals of the new long-range plan include low cost energy, limited risk, environmental responsibility, delivering reliable power and diversity of power supply. As in the 2015 long-range plan, TVA is collaborating with its IRP Working Group and the Regional Energy Resource Council (RERC) to help develop and shape the new power plan.


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PostPosted: Sep 21, 2018 1:06 pm 
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TVA, environmental groups duel over the future of solar energy

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Just about 13 percent of that power now comes from renewable sources, and only 3 percent from wind and solar, according to TVA’s figures. The latter figure is expected to grow over the next decade. But not by much, compared to other power sources. “Solar only operates when the sun shines and wind only works when the wind blows,” TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said via email. “Even hydroelectric power is dependent on the availability of water, which can be more limited in drought conditions.” That requires TVA to have other sources, such as nuclear, natural gas and coal to provide steady power around the clock, he said. Environmental groups say TVA could be doing much more — and that comparable utilities are.


Pro-solar anti-nukes know that they have public opinion on their side. But not physics or engineering. Hence the problem.


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PostPosted: Oct 13, 2018 10:26 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
TVA, environmental groups duel over the future of solar energy

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Just about 13 percent of that power now comes from renewable sources, and only 3 percent from wind and solar, according to TVA’s figures. The latter figure is expected to grow over the next decade. But not by much, compared to other power sources. “Solar only operates when the sun shines and wind only works when the wind blows,” TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said via email. “Even hydroelectric power is dependent on the availability of water, which can be more limited in drought conditions.” That requires TVA to have other sources, such as nuclear, natural gas and coal to provide steady power around the clock, he said. Environmental groups say TVA could be doing much more — and that comparable utilities are.


Pro-solar anti-nukes know that they have public opinion on their side. But not physics or engineering. Hence the problem.


TVA has energy storage that wind and solar require to become replacements for coal, natural gas, and even nuclear. I made an unplanned detour while on vacation once to visit one of the facilities, I saw a sign pointing it out and decided to take a look.
https://www.tva.gov/Energy/Our-Power-Sy ... n-Mountain

This facility is a pumped hydro storage dam, capable of producing 1.6 GW of electricity. They use it for daily and seasonal load balancing for the nuclear and coal plants they manage. That should allow for a lot of wind and solar on the grid within the region. So, what's the problem?

My guess is that economics is a problem. Solar power is still quite expensive, even with a pumped hydro storage facility nearby. Wind is far cheaper but still has costs attached in the need for this storage. Raccoon Mountain is a big dam but that's not unlimited storage, there will be limits to how much wind and solar that can be added before even 1.6 GW of storage is not enough to keep the grid stable.

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Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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