exploring environmentally friendly power production, energy conservation,
and educational programs, TVA generates power for future generations.
it comes to electricity, the choice is usually limited to on or off.
Today, however, many Valley residents are able to decide if they want
to go green.
Working with the environmental community, TVA has teamed up with local
public power providers in 12 test markets to add new, cleaner energy
sources to the Valleys power mix. The initiative, called Green
Power Switchsm, will use wind, solar, and landfill-gas
technologies to generate electricity. If the test is successful, green
power could be offered to all consumers in TVAs service area by
The green in green power comes from its renewability. Resources like
wind and sunlight produce energy today that renews itself tomorrowlike
a growing plant. As the market test gets under way, landfill gas will
provide the largest proportion of green power. The methane gas that
landfills emit as the organic material in them decays can be collected
for use as fueltaking literal advantage of the old adage about
one persons treasure in anothers trash. A highly developed
and mature technology, the conversion of methane to an energy resource
also rids the atmosphere of a potent greenhouse gas that ordinarily
has to be vented or burned to prevent gas buildup in landfills.
Capturing wind energy creates no air pollution at all and, if the turbines
are sited properly, has little environmental impact. TVAs three
wind turbines, located on a reclaimed strip mine on Buffalo Mountain
in Anderson County, Tennessee, will produce about six million kilowatt-hours
of energy each yearenough to serve more than 400 typical Valley
households. Solar power makes use of one of the cleanest energy sources
around, and TVA is currently installing photovoltaic panel arrays in
the service areas of participating power providers. Although the programs
capacity to generate energy from wind and sunlight will be small at
first, it will grow as demand increases.
Participation in Green Power Switch will add a little more expense to
users monthly utility bills. Although renewable resources may
be free, the technology used to capture the energy they produce is still
more expensive than traditional power generation methods. Residents
in the test markets are able to buy third-party-certified green power
in 150-kilowatt-hour blocks (about 12 percent of a households
monthly energy consumption) for an additional $4 each. Green Power Switch
is also being introduced to commercial and industrial consumers who
are being asked to buy numbers of blocks based on the amount of energy
By choosing to pay a little more for green power, consumers invest in
the market application of environmentally friendly power generation
technologiesa trend that TVA hopes will add up to bring the cost
of green power down. In the meantime, making the switch to green power
does make a difference. Buying just one block of green power per month
for a year is equivalent to avoiding the emissions released by driving
a car 1,100 miles.
an era of warming climate and unprecedented population growth, renewable
energy is one solution to the urgent problems that confront our world.
We look forward to TVA becoming a leader in the promotion of clean energy
in the years ahead, and to commitment of its use by consumers in the
Frances Lamberts, Chairperson,
Natural Resources Committee
League of Women Voters of Tennessee