Harnessing the Wind in the Southeast

By Mansfield, Duncan | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 21, 2000 | Go to article overview

Harnessing the Wind in the Southeast


Mansfield, Duncan, THE JOURNAL RECORD


OLIVER SPRINGS, Tenn. -- Three tall white spires topped with delicately poised 75-foot-long rotors that point into the wind, waiting to bring a new source of renewable energy to the Tennessee Valley.

"I wanted to see them as soon as we got `em up," Tennessee Valley Authority Chairman Craven Crowell as his helicopter landed on Buffalo Mountain, site of the first major wind turbine project in the Southeast.

The turbines, which rise nearly 300 feet into the sky, will provide about 2 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 400 homes in a year.

That's small compared to the authority's systemwide demand of some 28,000 megawatts. "But it is a big part of what we are doing with green power," said Jim Keiffer, the TVA's senior vice president for marketing.

The authority's Green Power Switch alternative energy program, launched on Earth Day on April 22, is being offered in a first-year test to customers of a dozen of the authority's 158 local distributors.

So far, some 1,944 homes and 115 businesses have signed up to buy blocks of green power. Residential customers are charged an extra $4 a month per 150 kilowatt-hour block, roughly 12 percent of a household's monthly average.

The authority hopes to have as many as 8,000 residential customers signed up by next spring. Officials have a target of mid- October for connecting the windmills up to its grid. …

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