Power Switch News
The science museum was the first solar installation to begin operating. The sites were selected as prime locations to promote the program and to increase green power generation. The sites provide opportunities to educate the public about the positive impact TVA and the distributors of TVA power want to have on the environment. More importantly, the sites provide good sun exposure and space for the photovoltaic panels.
Other sites in Tennessee include Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, Gibson County High School in Dyer, Dollywood Tram C in Sevierville, and Cocke County High School in Newport. Additional panels at Dollywoods Tram D/E and Tennessees newest site at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge began operation in April. A site is also planned for Finley Stadium in Chattanooga.
In other states, Duffield Primary School in Duffield, Virginia, started operating in February, as did the SciQuest Science Museum in Huntsville, Alabama. Solar panels at the Lovers Lane Soccer Complex in Bowling Green, Kentucky, are also under construction. The solar sites are expected to generate more than 400,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a yearenough to meet the needs of 30 average-sized Tennessee Valley homes. For more information see the TVA solar sites page.
The wind turbines were erected on the site of a reclaimed strip mine and are the first wind turbines in commercial use in the Southeastern United States. Together, these turbines produce enough energy in a year to serve more than 400 average-sized Valley homes.
Power production from the turbines has continued to increase since startup. By the end of March, the turbines were available to produce power more than 90 percent of the time. Other sites around the Tennessee Valley are being evaluated to determine if they have enough wind to support additional generation.
Each wind-powered generator at Buffalo Mountain sits atop a tower that is 213 feet tall. Each generator has three 75-foot long blades and the diameter of the rotors span is about 154 feet. The entire assembly is 290 feet from an upright rotor tip to the ground. Sophisticated electronic technology allows the turbine to rotate and take advantage of the strongest wind in the area, but they can start producing power with a 10 mph wind. For more information see the TVA wind turbine energy page.
To help speed up the project, TVA bought the plant and its operations from the independent power producer first contracted to build and operate the facility. Today construction crews are in the final stages of installing and testing generating equipment.
One of the lessons learned with this project is the importance of developing a Plan B. The production estimates for this landfill gas generation site have been lowered to about 2.6 megawatts of electric capacity. TVA is looking at other landfill gas sites to make up for this power shortage, as well as other ways to install more solar and wind power. If current plans go well, the Middle Point facility is expected to be producing power by early summer. For more information see the TVA landfill gas energy page.