NextEra, TVA commission 75-MW River Bend Solar project in Alabama

NextEra Energy Resources and the Tennessee Valley Authority on Nov. 18 celebrated the commissioning of Alabama’s largest solar energy project – the 75-MW River Bend Solar Energy Center.

“We are pleased to once again work with our valued customer, TVA, to bring additional renewables into their portfolio with this first project of its scale in Alabama,” said Mike O’Sullivan, senior vice president of Development for NextEra Energy Resources, which is the owner and operator of the project. “This 75 MW solar project will provide millions in recurring tax dollars in aggregate over several decades for schools and essential services in the region and will generate cost-effective, clean, solar energy for years to come.”

The River Bend Solar Energy Center features more than 300,000 solar panels with trackers that will follow the sun from east to west each day to maximize energy production. The energy will serve TVA consumers starting this year, under a 20-year power purchase agreement between TVA and NextEra Energy Resources.

“TVA never stands still, and this NextEra Energy Resources project helps us meet our commitment to provide the 9 million people of the Tennessee Valley with reliable, low-cost, carbon-free electricity,” said Van Wardlaw, executive vice president of external relations for TVA. “Over the next 20 years, TVA will invest about $8 billion to support our renewable energy portfolio, and we see a bright renewable energy future for projects like this across the Tennessee Valley.” 

The project has created a significant economic boost for Lauderdale County, creating about 350 jobs during the construction phase, with most of the workers coming from the local area.

NextEra Energy Resources has approximately 18,260 MW of generating capacity, which includes megawatts associated with noncontrolling interests related to NextEra Energy Partners LP (NYSE: NEP). It is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE).  

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

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.