TVA'S NEW WIND TURBINES PRODUCING EXCESS GREEN POWER
Universities Create New Demand for Green Power
Knoxville, TN - This month Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) released generation performance data showing that, due to the 2004 wind power expansion, the Green Power Switch program is producing more green power than the amount being purchased by residential and commercial consumers. Meanwhile, the University of Tennessee (UT) became the program's leading purchaser, as student actions across Tennessee are becoming a driving force in purchasing much of the excess green power.
The (TVA) Green Power Switch program, initiated in 2000, has thrived as one of the nation's leading utility green power programs. Strong public demand for clean, renewable energy forced TVA to play catch up for the first four years of the program. In response to the large demand, TVA expanded its wind power generation site, Buffalo Mountain near Oliver Springs, Tennessee, from three wind turbines to 18 turbines generating 29 megawatts, enough power to run 3,780 households. TVA has met all power purchases by customers since the program's inception. TVA's program is accredited by an independent third party, the Center for Resource Solutions, and has continued to meet all the requirements of the accreditation standard. "We are pleased with the strong demand for clean energy, and TVA's continued commitment to support this voluntary program," said Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "Clean energy generated from the wind, sun and biomass is needed now more than ever to buffer rising fuel costs, ensure energy security and help local economic development."
As the wind continues to blow across the Tennessee Valley, so too does the demand for clean energy. Students across the Tennessee Valley have been encouraging their universities to purchase green power. Students at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville have set the example for others by getting the University to agree to purchase green power as well as take action to make the campus more energy efficient. A year and a half after intense discussions between students and UT administrators regarding the student referendum passed in 2004 (supporting the purchase of green power), the University has now become the largest purchaser in TVA's Green Power Switch program. They are the 4th largest green power purchaser in the Southeast, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership Program.
Jon Paul Plumlee, a UT student who was part of the student initiative that lead to the commitment, stated, "Students understand that universities need to led the way for our community. Institutions of higher learning must be responsible about our energy choices and support green power with a meaningful impact." UT's landmark purchase represents 2% of their total electricity consumption.
Other student-led initiatives are in full swing at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), where students recently approved a Student Government Association ballot referendum by nearly 90%, and Tennessee Technological University, where students will vote on a clean energy referendum on October 27th.
According to MTSU student Charlee Tidrick, student action is only the first step in a long process, as they learned from students at UT. In order to get a clean energy fee implemented, the MTSU administration must present the initiative to the Tennessee Board of Regents next summer to be approved as a student fee. "We are depending on our President, Sydney McPhee, to stand behind the students on this issue," says Tidrick. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us. We really need the help of those who are in charge of this University to recognize the will of the students. It's the students' voice that should ultimately prevail."
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy's Campus Coordinator, Nick Algee, is pleased with the progress of student activity in Tennessee. "The University of Tennessee's commitment to green power purchasing grew the Green Power Switch program by nearly 15%. Students in Tennessee are leading the way for responsible energy choices and clearly voicing what is important to them, a future where we have abundant clean, renewable energy."
Residential customers can also support the Green Power Switch program by voluntarily purchasing green power each month. Check with your local utility to see if the Green Power Switch program is available in your area.
-News provided by Southern Alliance for Clean Energy