Return of TVA Raccoon Mountain lags behind schedule

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) President and CEO Bill Johnson acknowledged that returning the 1,600-MW Raccoon Mountain pumped storage hydroelectric project to service has taken longer than expected.

The first Raccoon Mountain unit had been expected to return to service earlier this summer. The good news, however, Johnson said is that the first unit should be back in operation in mid-October.

Johnson said he was confident that all four Raccoon Mountain units should be back in service during the summer of 2014.

TVA Executive Vice President and Chief Generation Officer Chip Pardee said about 100 MW of additional capacity is being added through the ongoing refurbishment at Raccoon Mountain.

TVA Board Chairman William Sansom noted that Raccoon Mountain has more generating capacity than some nuclear power plants. Sansom also noted that the TVA region has enjoyed a summer with mild temperatures and much rainfall.

As a result, residential electric demand has been depressed and output from TVA’s other hydro units has been good, TVA officials said.

Utilities in the Southeast have called this one of the wettest summers in years.

TVA has been addressing “design weaknesses” that have been known about for years, Pardee said. “We are finishing this work in a quality fashion,” Pardee said.

Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant is located in southeast Tennessee on a site that overlooks the Tennessee River near Chattanooga.

TVA has dozens of hydroelectric units with an average age of 70 years, Pardee said. There are 109 TVA hydro units altogether, Pardee said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.