TVA plans to take power from 20-MW Birdseye solar project in Tennessee

The Tennessee Valley Authority is taking comment until Feb. 15 on its draft Environmental Assessment covering two proposed power purchase agreements with a solar generating facility to be built in Greene County, Tennessee. 

TVA has tentatively approved agreements to purchase the electricity generated by Birdseye Renewable Energy’s proposed 20-MW (dc) Brown Swiss solar farm for up to 20 years, pending the outcome of the assessment process. The photovoltaic solar facility, currently scheduled for completion in late 2016, would consist of two adjacent 10-MW (dc) facilities occupying about 130 acres near Chuckey Pike about eight miles east of Greeneville.

The PPAs would be with Brown Swiss Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Birdseye Renewable Energy. The PPAs would be executed through TVA’s Renewable Standard Offer (RSO) program, under which TVA agrees to purchase qualifying renewable energy at set prices for a 20-year period.

The Brown Swiss solar facilities and associated electrical interconnection would occupy approximately 130 acres. The facilities would consist of multiple parallel rows of photovoltaic (PV) panels fastened to fixed metal racks, DC to alternating current (AC) inverters, and transformers. A new 24-kV transmission line approximately 2,300 feet long would connect the solar facilities to a new electrical substation near TVA’s existing Tusculum-Washington College 69-kV transmission line. A short 69-kV transmission line would connect the substation to the Tusculum-Washington College line.

TVA noted in the draft EA that it produces or obtains electricity from a diverse portfolio of energy sources including nuclear, fossil, hydro, solar, wind, and biomass. In 2011, TVA completed an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The IRP identifies the resources that TVA uses to meet the energy needs of the TVA region over the 20-year planning period while meeting TVA’s vision to become one of the nation’s leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020. Cost-effective renewable energy, including energy generated by solar PV, is one of the energy resources recommended in the IRP.

In July 2015, TVA issued an updated final IRP and associated final supplemental EIS. The proposed PPAs with Brown Swiss are consistent with the alternative strategies evaluated in the 2015 IRP and the planning direction approved by the TVA Board of Directors in August 2015.

The scope of this EA focuses on impacts related to the construction and operation of the proposed solar facilities and associated modifications to the TVA transmission system. It describes the existing environment at the project site and analyzes potential environmental impacts associated with the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative.

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.