Large Commercial Solar Targeted by TVA


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There are at least two unspoken issues that have been missed in the discussions on both sides. The first is the need to modernize the way we generate electric power and deliver it to the user . Then there is the financial burden on the homeowner. There are designs being created to improve the power delivery to all levels of users. “According to an EPRI report, “The Power Delivery System of the Future,” the Smart Grid would require $165 billion in net investment (over and above investment for load growth and that needed to maintain reliability), and lead to a benefit-to-cost ratio of 4:1 (EPRI 1011001)”. We will end up paying for the grid upgrade. Just how we will pay is being debated. TVA with its heavy debt-load, will have to raise funds from its users to pay for TVA’s needed upgrades to create its version of the smart grid. Each electric power distributor will also be expected to raise funds to upgrade its distribution system. The distributor customers will bear the financial burden. TVA distributors are by chartered as non-profit corporations. The public cry today is for green power. Our present grid is not designed to accommodate large amounts of solar or wind energy with its intermittent DC power characteristic. Without proper treatment, such as adding energy storage, large amounts of solar could cause our power delivered to the home to violate the standards for power quality. The cost of providing smart grid power will burden residential customers in the United States with a bill of about $1,2002. With 10-year amortization, the increase in the monthly bill for residential customers will be between $9 and $12.

Comment by Stephen Levy on April 11, 2018 3:03 pm

Thank you for your comment. I do not think this issue is being “missed” but the discussion is not advanced when a utility like TVA is seeking to use its power (so to speak) to control what, if anything, others can influence. I do think that the North Carolina debate around Duke Energy’s Power/Forward proposal shows how vague the big spending plans of the utility for grid upgrades are. We are not yet convinced that such large amounts are needed. Also, very substantial amounts of solar and wind can be accommodated on the grid as demonstrated in a number of states and countries. Your comments suggest some scary outcomes, but the history of solar and wind deployment does not merit that level of alarm. We are very supportive of deliberate review and
then investment along these lines.

Comment by John D. Wilson on April 11, 2018 3:34 pm

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