TVA 37% coal-fired so far in FY 2013

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has gotten 37% of its power from coal-fired generation so far in FY 2013, a period that ends Sept. 30.

As a federal utility, TVA employs the federal fiscal year. Following its Aug. 22 board meeting in Knoxville TVA released detailed information on its generation picture.

In addition to coal, nuclear energy has contributed 31% of the federal utility’s power needs followed by hydroelectric power at 14%; 8% gas; 6% purchased power; 3% renewables and 1% energy efficiency. TVA outlined the figures in a slide presentation released following the meeting.

TVA is also installing environmental controls at the Gallatin plant and has slashed its power fleet’s SO2 and NOx emissions continuously since the 1970s, TVA indicated.

Only hydroelectric and nuclear plants have a cheaper cost per MHW than the coal plants in the TVA system, TVA reported. Combined-cycle natural gas, gas combustion turbines, large solar, wind and small solar all have higher electricity costs. Small solar is the most expensive option in the TVA system.

Nevertheless, Tennessee has more solar capacity with 66 MW than all its surrounding southern states as of the first quarter of 2013.

In addition, in July of this year TVA got almost half (49%) of its power from non-carbon emitting sources. They include nuclear, hydro, renewables, and energy efficiency/demand response.

One of TVA’s immediate goals is to complete an updated integrated resource plan.

The TVA board approved new hydro-modernization contracts with Voith Hydro, Andritz Hydro and any future supplier meeting similar minimum requirements to improve reliability and provide additional hydroelectric capacity

TVA also indicated that its system peak load during certain periods has dropped dramatically in recent years – from a midday peak of roughly 25,000 MW on May 29, 2007 to a midday peak of just over 15,000 MW on May 12, 2013.

Figures show that TVA is generating less energy in terms of megawatt hours (MWH).

TVA leaders said the region’s economy is growing but is more energy efficient. Retirement of the USEC (NYSE:USU) uranium enrichment plant has also hurt TVA’s demand picture.

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