Bioenergy, Solar, Wind Power

State Parks Purchase 2 Million kWhs of Green Power

State parks in Tennessee are going green on the inside as well as the out. Gov. Phil Bredesen announced the plan to have the State purchase green power for every state park where green power is available.

This would make Tennessee one of the first state parks systems in the nation to utilize green power, Bredesen said. “This announcement demonstrates the environmental leadership of our state parks system and our commitment to supporting greater utilization of renewable energy sources,” Bredesen said. “Reducing traditional power production through increased use of green power lessens impacts on the environment, which is especially important to help improve air quality in Tennessee.” Forty-four of Tennessee’s state parks will have access to green power through the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Green Power Switch program, and they will purchase a combined total of 1,149 blocks per month at a cost of $55,152 per year. Blocks are sold as 150 kWh of green power and cost $4 per block. The purchase equates to the environmental benefits of planting 418 acres of trees, recycling 8.8 million aluminum cans, recycling more than a million pounds of newspaper, or removing 270 cars from Tennessee highways. “The renewable resources used to generate green power are free, but the technology required to harness them costs a little more,” explained Jim Keiffer, senior vice president of marketing for TVA. “As the demand for green power increases, however, that will help drive down the cost of these cleaner technologies.” TVA receives power from the Buffalo Mountain Wind Park, the only commercial-scale wind-generating site in the southeast located in Oliver Springs, Tennessee. Buffalo Mountain recently expanded its capacity from three windmills to 18. Ten of TVA’s 16 solar generating sites are located in Tennessee. TVA also operates a methane co-firing project located in Memphis, powered by the methane waste by-product from the City of Memphis’s wastewater treatment facility. Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke said the investment in green power is being offset by energy efficiency measures implemented at state parks that will also result in added environmental benefits. Efficiency measures include lighting and cooling improvements at Norris Dam, Sycamore Shoals, Fall Creek Falls and Pickwick Landing State Parks, and other energy efficiency improvements at Henry Horton and Pinson Mounds. “Along with potential cost savings of over $190,000 that our parks improvements are predicted to achieve, we estimate that more than 3.4 million pounds of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants will be averted from the atmosphere,” Fyke said. “And now we’re coupling that with the environmental benefits that will be achieved by meeting some of the state parks’ energy demands through green power.” The State of Tennessee also purchases green power for the Executive Residence and state buildings in downtown Nashville. Supporting renewable energy was a recommendation of the Governor’s Interagency Workgroup on Air Quality.