Virginia Member Counties

Room Reservations Now Open For Fall Meeting Gatlinburg TN

Executive Director Mike Arms recommends ATVG members planning to attend our Fall Meeting in Gatlinburg TN October 15-17, 2024 at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown Gatlinburg  to please make reservations now!  See the reservation link below for Hotel Reservations . We will post the agenda and registration form later this summer on our website.

Details will include an early arrival reception on October 15, an optional local attraction tour on the morning of the 16th and our annual meeting and election at 11:00, followed by lunch and our afternoon program.   As always we will conclude with a social hour and group dinner on the night of the 16th.If you plan to attend please make reservations for your room before September 18.  We have a $209 room rate during the Park’s peak color season the weekend before the Tennessee/ Alabama football game in  Knoxville …..So Rooms will go quickly!

  • October 15-17, 2024 – Courtyard Marriott Downtown Gatlinburg, TN (865-436-2008)

    ATVG Room Rate good for Tuesday Oct 15 – Thursday Oct 17.  ATVG Room Rate Expires September 13, 2024 so make reservations early!

    Use this reservation link to make reservations for ATVG room rate: Book your group rate for Fall ATVG 2024

Thanks,

Mike Arms, ATVG Executive Director

Lake Guntersville Gets Needed Grants to Fight Invasive Grass

The Lake Guntersville, Alabama Stakeholders Group is an organization that has been working with fisherman, property owners, TVA, and local city and county governments to address the management of invasive aquatic weeds since the 1980’s.

In the early years, the problems primarily came from hydrilla and milfoil.  The fishermen loved those weeds because they gave cover for the feeder fish to spawn in and the edge of one of  those fields of weeds generally provided a good place to find large-mouthed bass.

Unfortunately, the weeds made it hard to navigate the waters and many times they blocked access to boat docks, boating ramps, and access lanes and would even clog the coolant intake on motors in the open waters.  Homeowners hated them – especially those that weren’t fishermen but enjoyed skiing, sailing, rowing, and other water activities.

Hydrilla and milfoil are well-controlled with aquatic herbicides and a management plan could be executed that left some areas alone for fishermen yet cleaned other areas to provide access to boat docks and for other uses of the lake.

 

Then came eel grass.  There is a native eel grass but it doesn’t spread as aggressively as what we are fighting now.  We’ve learned through DNA testing that this eel grass is a hybrid that may have it’s beginnings in the fish tank industry. There is much speculation as to how this variety was introduced into our reservoir but regardless as to how it got started, it is very aggressively spreading now and it is not as well-controlled with the aquatic herbicides that are currently being used. Large mats of floating eel grass can break loose and cause significant issues wherever they end up.  When eel grass decays it produces a slimy sludge and a rotting odor.  It is a significant threat to just about every aspect that the lake is used for and is a major threat to economic development.

One of the reasons why it’s worse in Guntersville than any other lake in the TVA system could be because we have the shallowest lake in the TVA system which provides excellent growing conditions.  Plus, we can’t fluctuate our water levels much because of the depth needs for commercial barge traffic and this limits some of the weed control measures..

WET was formed as a 501(c)3 in September of 2011 but due to lack of funds we weren’t capable to do much other than to educate various entities regarding our issues with invasive weeds in Lake Guntersville.  In 2019, WET joined forces with the Lake Guntersville Stakeholders Group to provide a funding mechanism for additional efforts.   We currently manage a website and Facebook page called MyLakeGuntersville.

WET received a pair of federal grants through Fish & Wildlife that totaled $1.2M and last year started working in partnership with TVA to join in the fight against the invasive weeds with TVA covering the weed control of public areas such as boat ramps and WET covering the privately owned areas.

In addition to herbicides, TVA has contracted harvesters to remove the weeds (primarily eel grass) from the water but the scope of the problem has been likened to harvesting a square mile of wheat with something the size of a lawn mower.

TVA is also partnering with Mississippi State to test other herbicides and other control methods that might be more effective than those currently used.

The main growing season for the weeds is mid-May to mid-October.  During the peak growth months, the cost of the current herbicide control methods is about $90k per week.  That does not include the additional expenses TVA incurs for the harvesting program.  At that rate, our current grants will soon run out and additional funds will be needed to carry on the work.

Visit MyLakeGuntersville.com for more information or to donate.

 

ATVG Summer Meeting Agenda and Registration Posted

Make your plans now to join us for our ATVG Summer Membership Meeting and Program
June 18, Evening Reception, June 19, ATVG Meeting, and June 20, TVA tour of Wilson Dam
The Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa
Marriott Shoals, Florence, AL

Room Rate Set To Expire Friday June 7.  Call and ask for ATVG room rate when making reservations.

 (256-246-3600)

Agenda and Registration Available Here

How TVA Kept Pace with Record Power Demands- Knoxville News Sentinel

More energy sources, new tech worked during winter storm

Photo: HANNAH MATTIX/NEWS SENTINEL

TVA relied heavily on nuclear plants to keep power flowing to customers during the winter storm.

The Tennessee Valley Authority had a record-setting power week in January, making use of the millions of dollars the agency invested on weatherization and new natural gas plants to get through a week-long winter storm and deep freeze.

A diverse mix of sources, built on the foundation of nuclear power, got the federal utility through its highest-ever power demand on Jan. 17, its highestever weekend power demand on Jan. 21, and its highest amount of power delivered in one week.

The energy sources used during the storm also reflect TVA’s move toward natural gas and away from coal plants, which failed it during Winter Storm Elliott in 2022 and have gotten more expensive as they age.

In extreme weather events, it’s “all resources on deck,” said Aaron Melda, senior vice president of power supply operations at TVA. Melda told Knox News the agency’s operators were thankful as last month’s winter storm arrived that new natural gas plants can withstand cold temperatures.

“Those coal sites are like you’ve got a ‘78 Buick in the driveway,” Melda said. “Bringing on these newer natural gas sites, it’s simply like buying a new car. The inherent reliability of those facilities are going to be better just because they are newer.”

Melda said TVA will continue to invest in extending the lives of its nuclear plants and hydroelectric dams, two of its most reliable power sources.

Where did TVA gets its energy during the record-breaking week?

More vital in extremely low temperatures than its diverse energy mix was the $123 million TVA spent since the blackouts of Winter Storm Elliott to ready its plants for another winter storm, including millions spent on heating technology.

TVA is able to generate close to

33,000 megawatts with all cylinders firing. It can also purchase thousands more megawatts from neighboring utilities.

During Jan. 15-21, the utility purchased about one-sixth of its power and used all its available generating sources, Melda said. Only 3% of TVA’s fleet was unavailable during the week’s peak power demands.

Here’s the breakdown of where that power came from over the week:

● 30% nuclear

● 26% natural gas

● 16% coal

● 11% hydroelectric

● 17% purchased power

The ratio of electricity produced over the frigid week differs from the ratio of general capacities of various sources, which TVA reported in its latest annual SEC filing in November 2023:

● 42% nuclear

● 22% natural gas

● 13% coal

● 8% hydroelectric

● 15% purchased power

Though nuclear accounts for 42% of TVA’s generating capacity, the utility’s three nuclear plants don’t contribute to that capacity at every moment of the week, Melda said.

TVA trades old coal plants for new gas plants

TVA’s shift away from coal and toward natural gas continued between December 2022 — when it ordered its first rolling blackouts — and the January 2024 storm.

Since 2012, TVA has closed seven coal plants, and placed natural gas generators at five of the sites.

The agency retired the Bull Run Fossil Plant on Dec. 1, 2023, and three new natural gas units at the Paradise Combined Cycle Plant in Kentucky came online a month later, adding 750 megawatts of generation built to withstand low temperatures.

Along with three units that came online in July 2023 in Alabama, TVA added almost 1,500 megawatts of natural gas generation.

The Bull Run plant in the Claxton community of Anderson County failed to start generating during Winter Storm Elliott, exposing the weaknesses of TVA’s aging fleet of coal plants.

The average age of the remaining coal plants — Cumberland, Gallatin, Kingston and Shawnee — is about 60 years old, though they were built to run about 40 years. TVA plans to shutter all of them by 2035.

Another problem with coal for TVA is a growing set of federal regulations on the dirty fuel, which make modifying old plants too expensive to be worth it, Melda said.

“Increasing federal standards are requiring additional equipment be added on what is already an old facility, and the finances don’t work out, extending those lives versus bringing new new plants online,” Melda said.

Natural gas also is a fossil fuel, but it emits less carbon than coal. Gas plants can be built in the footprint of coal plants, a model TVA leaders say is a bridge to a cleaner energy future.

TVA has a geographical advantage in the natural gas supply chain, which can drastically affect revenues if gas prices soar. It is positioned between the Marcellus shale formation to the north, where gas is extracted through fracking, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south.

To meet population growth and to make best use of a reliable natural gas supply, spurred on by controversial fracking technology, TVA is building more gas plants. It will replace the Cumberland Fossil Plant, its largest coal plant, with a 1,450 megawatts natural gas plant scheduled to come online in 2026.

Which records did TVA break during the 2024 winter storm?

January’s winter storm was notable not only for the volume of snow and frigid temperatures, between 6.5 and 10 inches in the Knoxville area, but also for how long the snow stuck around, a record seven consecutive days with 4 or more inches of snow on the ground.

At 9 a.m. Jan. 17, as temperatures hovered near 0 degrees in Knoxville and averaged 4 degrees across the Tennessee Valley, TVA withstood a record power demand of 34,524 megawatts, according to preliminary data. That’s enough electricity to power more than 20 million average homes at once.

At 9 a.m. Jan. 21, the utility had a record weekend power demand of 34,284 megawatts.

Over the week of Jan. 15-21, TVA delivered 4,792 gigawatt hours of energy, a record for a seven-day period. A gigawatt is equivalent to 1,000 megawatts, and a gigawatt hour is a measure of energy use over one hour.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Department of Energy, independently gathers energy data, though its data is not validated by utility companies.

During the record power demand on the morning of Jan. 17, the Energy Information Administration tracked how much power TVA’s fleet was producing:

● Nuclear: 8,523 megawatts

● Natural gas: 10,403 megawatts

● Coal: 4,642 megawatts

● Hydroelectric: 5,085 megawatts

● Other: 1,432 megawatts

● Solar: 53 megawatts

TVA has purchase contracts for 715 megawatts of solar and another 1,867 megawatts under contract but not yet operating, according to 2023 SEC filings. It plans to add 10,000 megawatts of solar generation by 2035, which delivers relatively cheap energy when the sun is shining.

Daniel Dassow is a growth and development reporter focused on technology and energy. Phone 423-637-0878. Email daniel.dassow@knoxnews.com.

ATVG Meeting Murfreesboro Embassy Room Block Expires This Week

Just a quick reminder if you haven’t registered or made room
reservations for our upcoming ATVG Winter Meeting on February 6th at the
Murfreesboro Embassy Suites, time is running out.
The ATVG room block will be expiring this week so make your reservations
now!  Please call 1-800-EMBASSY as soon as possible to take advantage of
special room rates and visit our website, ATVG.ORG, to download the
agenda and registration form. Please note our new mailing address in now
ATVG, PO Box 1504, Paris, TN  38242.  Payments for registration can be
mailed to our new address.
I hope you have a nice holiday weekend and you can escape the cold
weather expected this weekend!
See you on Feb 6th!
Mike Arms, Executive Director
Association of Tennessee Valley Governments

ATVG Winter 2024 Newsletter Published

ATVG 2024 Winter Newsletter has been published for membership.  Feel free to browse for some interesting articles provided by latest TVA press release information.  View newsletter here. 

Make sure to check out our new mailing address and agenda and registration for upcoming meeting February 6 at the Murfreesboro TN Embassy Suites.

Photo by Jason Ayers

Winter ATVG Meeting To Be Held in Murfreesboro TN

Our meeting date for the upcoming February 6, 2024 in Murfreesboro, TN is rapidly approaching and members attending will need to make your room reservations now before our ATVG room block is full.   Please call 1-800-EMBASSY as soon as possible to take advantage of special room rates.

We have an outstanding program planned which includes a TVA update and a presentation on TVA’s Payment-In-Lieu-Of-Taxes (Pilot) with projections on Pilot payments for 2024.  We will also be dining that night at a favorite ATVG location: Five Senses Restaurant and Bar.

Please make your reservations soon to join us for a great meeting.  Please visit ATVG.org for registration forms and please note our new mailing address in now ATVG, PO Box 1504, Paris, TN  38242.  Payment for registration can be mailed to our new address.  Download a copy of the Agenda and Registration Form here.

Wishing you and your family a prosperous New Year!

Mike Arms, Executive Director

ATVG