Green Power FAQ
What is Green Power?
Green Power is a renewable energy initiative that offers consumers in the Tennessee Valley a choice in the type of power they buy. TVA, working in cooperation with the environmental community, developed the Green Power Program as a way to bring electricity that's generated by cleaner renewable resources to consumers. More than ninety public power companies in the TVA service area are currently selling energy generated by solar, wind, and methane gas resources.
How much does Green Power cost?
Green Power is sold to residential consumers in 150-kilowatt-hour blocks (about 12 percent of a typical household's monthly energy use). Each block adds an additional $4 to the customer's monthly power bill. Consumers can buy as many blocks as they like. In other parts of the country, residential consumers who participate in Green Power programs pay an extra $2 to $10 per month for Green Power. Green Power also is being marketed to commercial and industrial consumers who buy blocks based on the amount of energy they use.
Why does Green Power cost $4 per block?
While renewable resources like sunlight may be free, the technology used to capture the energy they produce is still more expensive than traditional power generation methods. But, increased demand may lead to expanded power production capacity and eventually to lower costs.
The $4 block of Green Power represents 150 kilowatt-hour blocks or 12 percent of a typical East Tennessee home's monthly use. The Green Power produced by TVA replaces power that otherwise would have to be produced by other non-renewable resources. The technology for capturing energy through renewable resources like sunlight and wind is still more expensive than traditional methods.
By choosing to pay a little more for Green Power, you can help advance the technology and increase the amount of electricity generated from cleaner sources.
When Green Power Switch began in 2000, TVA projected the $4 block price would allow the Green Power program to pay for itself by 2020.
What happens to the $4?
TVA uses the $4 to provide infrastructure to generate Green Power from wind, solar energy, and landfill gas. The Green Power generation infrastructure includes:
- 18 wind-powered turbines located on Buffalo Mountain in Anderson County, Tennessee, with a combined capacity of 29 megawatts (provides electricity to approximately 3,780 homes per year)
- 16 solar generation sites that provide a total solar capacity of 300 kilowatts
- The wastewater treatment facility in Memphis currently generates 8 megawatts of methane gas on an annual basis (provides electricity to approximately 1,043 homes per year)
Altogether, the Green Power Switch program has a generation capacity of over 37 megawatts on an annual basis (provides electricity to approximately 4,823 homes per year). Since the Green Power Switch program began in 2000, more than 290 million kilowatt-hours have been generated.
What happens if TVA produces less Green Power than what they actually sell?
If more people were to subscribe to the program than current resources would accommodate, according to its accreditation by the Green-e Renewable Energy Certification Program, TVA has a prescribed period of time to bring Green Power Switch back into balance.
What happens to the alternative energy that is produced if nobody buys it?
All the energy produced by TVA's renewable resources flows onto the power grid to be used by its consumers. TVA has indicated it would not make a decision on adding additional resources until existing Green Power generation is approaching full utilization.
How does Green Power benefit the environment?
The environmental impacts of traditional energy sources like coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear power can be significant. Although no source of energy is impact-free, renewable resources create less waste and pollution. In fact, an investment of an additional $8 per month on your power bill buys enough Green Power to equal the environmental benefits of planting an acre of trees in the Tennessee Valley.
How do we know Green Power impacts fossil fuel energy consumption?
Green Power Switch is an official Green-e certified program, a renewable electricity certification program administrated by the Center for Resource Solutions. The Green-e Renewable Energy Certification Program is a voluntary certification program that sets consumer protection and environmental standards for renewable energy options and verifies that Green-e certified options meet these standards.
Does TVA count hydroelectric as "Green?"
No. The only resources classified as renewable resources in the Green Power Switch program are solar, wind, and methane gas generation.
How much electricity will Green Power produce?
Physical laws determine where electricity is ultimately used, so power from these cleaner sources will go into TVA's electric system as part of the Valley's total power mix, rather than to individual homes or businesses. When the green power resources aren't operating--for instance, when wind speeds are too low to generate energy--TVA's other resources will continue to supply reliable electricity.
How many consumers will Green Power serve?
Green Power can provide enough electricity to supply 150 kilowatt hours a month for more than 30,000 homes, plus an ample supply of energy for participating businesses and industries.
Which public power companies are participating in the Green Power Program?
|4-County Electric Power Association||Knoxville Utilities Board|
|Alcoa Electric Department||Lafollette Utilities Board|
|Alcorn County Electric Power Association||Lawrenceburg Power System|
|Appalachian Electric Cooperative||Lenoir City Utilities Board|
|Athens Utility Board||Loudon Utilities|
|Benton Electric System||McMinnville Electric System|
|Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation||Meriwhether Lewis Electric Cooperative|
|Bowling Green Municipal Utilities||Memphis Light Gas & Water|
|Bristol Tennessee Electric System||Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation|
|Brownsville Utility Department||Milan Department of Public Utilities|
|Caney Fork Electric Cooperative||Morristown Power System|
|Central Electric Power Association||Mountain Electric Cooperative|
|Chickasaw Electric Cooperative||Murfreesboro Electric Department|
|City of Athens Electric Department||Murray Electric System|
|City of Elizabethton Electric Department||Muscle Shoals Electric Board|
|City of Maryville Electric Department||Nashville Electric Service|
|City of Okolona Electric Department||Newport Utilities|
|City of Oxford Electric Department||North East Mississippi Electric Power Association|
|Clarksville Department of Electricity||North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation|
|Cleveland Utilities||Oak Ridge Electric Department|
|Clinton Utilities Board||Paris Board of Public Utilities|
|Columbus Light and Water||Pennyrile Rural Electric Cooperative|
|Cookeville Electric Department||Pickwick Electric Cooperative|
|Cullman Electric Cooperative||Plateau Electric Cooperative|
|Cullman Power Board||Powell Valley Electric Cooperative|
|Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation||Pulaski Electric System|
|Decatur Utilities||Rockwood Electric Utility|
|Dickson Electric Department||Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative|
|Duck River Electric Membership Corporation||Sevier County Electric System|
|Dyersburg Electric System||Shelbyville Power System|
|Elizabethton Electric System||Smithville Electric System|
|EPB (Chattanooga)||Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation|
|Erwin Utilities||Springfield Department of Electricity|
|Fayetteville Public Utilities||Starkville Electric System|
|Florence Utilities||Sweetwater Utilities Board|
|Fort Loudon Electric Cooperative||Tippah Electric Power Association|
|Franklin Electric Plant Board||Toshomingo County EPA|
|Gallatin Department of Electricity||Tri-County Electric|
|Gibson Electric Membership Corporation||Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation|
|Greeneville Light and Power System||Tullahoma Utilities Board|
|Harriman Utility Board||Tuscumbia Electric Department|
|Hartselle Utilities||Union City Electric System|
|Holston Electric Cooperative||Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation|
|Hopkinsville Electric System||Volunteer Energy Cooperative|
|Huntsville Utilities||Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation|
|Johnson City Power Board||Weakley County Municipal Electric System|
|Jackson Energy Authority||Winchester Utilities|
|Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Corporation|
Want more information on Green Power?
The U.S. Department of Energy Green Power Network
TVA Green Power Switch®