TVA to buy up to 20 MW of biomass-fired electricity

The Tennessee Valley Authority recently completed an environmental assessment (EA) and issued a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for a proposed power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Weyerhaeuser NR Co. Cellulose Fibers Facility.  

Weyerhaeuser is planning to increase operations of a biomass-fueled generator system, to produce up to 20 MW. The system is installed at Weyerhaeuser’s Columbus, Miss., facility.

The PPA, executed through TVA’s Renewable Standard Offer (RSO) program, would be for 10 years. This power would be generated by an existing wood residue biomass (biomass) boiler and generation system. Minor modification would be required in the existing switchyard for metering the power produced and a connecting transmission line could be uprated by TVA.

In order to help fulfill the objectives of its 2011 Integrated Resource Plan, 2007 Strategic Plan and 2008 Environmental Policy, TVA said it has undertaken efforts to expand the contribution of renewable and low greenhouse gas-emitting sources in its power generation portfolio.

This fibers operation presently has generation facilities which provide onsite electric power. These existing facilities are capable of generating approximately 85 MW to 88 MW, of which 48 MW are required for the operation of the fibers facility. Of the approximate 40 MW of excess capacity, up to 20 MW would be used to provide power for TVA’s RSO program. The remaining power would be purchased under an existing agreement relating to TVA’s Dispersed Power Production (DPP) program.

Weyerhaeuser would procure an additional 230,000 green tons of biomass fuel for power generation from on site at the CCF and outside sources, and would provide funds for the minor upgrades to the switchyard.

The existing mill and associated generation equipment have been in place for over 20 years. Until recently, the facility generated total power in excess of 68 MW to supply an adjacent coated ground-wood paper manufacturing facility owned by Domtar Corp.

An existing TVA 161-kV transmission line connects the Weyerhaeuser facility to the TVA transmission network. The line is currently being used by Weyerhaeuser to deliver power sold to TVA under the DPP program. Power transmission on this line is subject to curtailment if the line becomes overloaded. An uprate of the line could occur at a later date to increase the capacity and transmission reliability of the line, which would benefit the efficiency of all power transmission by the line, the EA noted.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.