News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2007


TVA green power program a winner

With global warming now a worldwide concern, the federal government should take renewed interest in the Tennessee Valley Authority because of its green power program.

TVA started the program seven years ago when skeptics said the federal agency was wasting money on a pipe dream. Still in its infancy, the Green Power Switch program is selling a record amount of renewable power and may soon reach its capacity again. That's because people in the Tennessee Valley are concerned about global warming, acid rain, rising fuel costs and having enough energy. And because green power is available.

The program offers power in blocks of 150 kilowatt hours, which is about 12 percent of an average household's monthly usage. The cost is slightly higher than traditionally generated power.

The program is small, generating only 37 megawatts of TVA's 35,000 megawatts. But it is significant because the program is demonstrating to the nation the practicality of green power. For instance, a TVA plant in Memphis burns methane from a sewage plant to create electricity. TVA has several solar power sites and 18 windmills on its wind farm on Buffalo Mountain in Tennessee.

There was concern last week over a report that TVA is selling only 69 percent of its green power. That is misleading because of the windmills that came on line in recent months.

As of March, TVA had 158 distributors participating in green power, sending this hope for the future to 10,000 residential customers and more than 650 businesses.

TVA was a government experiment in pulling the Tennessee Valley out of a primitive lifestyle while it created jobs and recreation on a scale that few people could imagine when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the legislation during the Great Depression.

Green power is working for TVA and is continuing to grow. Hopefully, Congress is watching.

One way each of us can help with cleaning up the environment and stopping global warming is to join the Green Power Switch program.

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