TVA Handles Demand Of Cold Temperatures

Friday, January 12, 2018 - by Scott Fiedler

We’ve seen our share of frigid days and nights this winter, and TVA’s power has been there for every little notching up of the thermostat. That’s thanks to a diversified portfolio that includes plenty of generating assets—including combustion turbines, which are in their glory on the coldest (and hottest) days of the year.

“A combustion turbine plant is a peaking plant,” said John Moberly, site manager at Marshall Combustion Turbine Plant in Calvert City, Ky. “That means when the base load electrical grid has reached its peak and they need additional megawatts, they call on us to provide more power.


Mr. Moberly and his six-man crew can do that very quickly. “CT plants are easy on, easy off,” he explains. “We can tie to the system in 12 minutes, and have our maximum load online in just 17.” Considering that this plant has eight units capable of generating up to 92 MW each under cold winter conditions, that’s a lot of power.

Generally speaking, CT units are used short-term, as they are a responsive, versatile, high-reliability but relatively higher-cost form of generation. However, the Marshall team logged a record-breaking seven 24/7 days between December 31 and January 7, keeping the units online to keep the Valley warm during the coldest snap of the season to date.

“January 2nd was the tenth highest winter peak of all time for TVA, with a demand of 31,740 MW at 8:00 a.m. C.S.T. at an average Valley temperature of 11 degrees F,” said Allen Clare, vice president of Hydro and Gas Operations. “Employees at our CT sites which are normally only staffed weekdays on day shift, braved the cold temperatures and staffed several of our sites around the clock to ensure system needs were being met. That day the CT plants supplied 11% of the total load served.”

With warmer weather moving in for now, Marshall CT Plant is offline and doing corrective and preventive maintenance. “There’s never any shortage of that,” said Kurt Johnson, a site technician who keeps up a furious pace (when not catching up on his sleep). “We do a lot of maintenance and modifications—there is plenty of work to go around.”

Marshall Combustion Turbine Plant is a star performer, having churned out over 400,000 MWh of generation across 400 starts in 2017, with a reliability rate of 99.999 percent. The plant is used not only to meet demand from highs and lows in temperature, but to compensate for any other disturbance in TVA’s generation system. “Anytime something comes offline unexpectedly elsewhere in the system, TVA is required to make up the difference,” Mr. Moberly said. “CT plants are a great solution for grid disturbance recovery.”

They’re also a key asset for TVA, according to Mr. Clare. “Natural gas generation has taken on a larger role in the TVA generation mix as we move toward a more balanced portfolio,” he said. “Our simple cycle units are relied on for their quick-start capabilities to meet demands during peak times, as well as for backup power needs when our larger base-loaded plants aren’t available.”

Plus, CTs offer some side benefits. “They’re very environmentally friendly whether we are using natural gas or diesel, because they burn clean,” said Mr. Moberly. “And we can also offer voltage support when needed.” In addition, Marshall is the only site at TVA that has 100 percent LED lighting, from floodlights to flashlights.

Pride, at this plant, runs high. “We are happy to run around the clock to whenever needed to ensure that the nine million people we serve can go to the thermostat and turn up the heat,” Mr. Moberly said. “We know we’ve doing our part in helping TVA in its mission to serve the people of the Tennessee Valley.”

Rep. Graves Co-Sponsors Bill To Fully Fund President Trump’s Border Wall

Rep. Tom Graves issued the following statement after co-sponsoring the Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act (H.R. 7059), which provides $23.4 billion to fully fund President Trump’s border wall.   He said, “The wall is a key part of President Trump’s plan to secure the border. After making a $1.6 billion down payment in last year’s government funding bill, this legislation ... (click for more)

EPB Holds Green Business Expo to Share Sustainability Practices

EPB celebrated the LEED Silver certification of its downtown headquarters building by sharing best practices for sustainability with a Green Business Expo for area businesses. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and is the world’s most widely used green building program.  EPB updated its headquarters building ... (click for more)

City "Moves Away" From $4 Million Light Show On Walnut Street Bridge

The city is no longer pursuing a plan for a $4,050,000 light show on the Walnut Street Bridge. Dennis Malone, assistant city engineer, told City Council members on Tuesday, "We have moved away from that project." The council had earlier pulled capital funding that had been proposed for the "Ripples of Light" on the historic "walking bridge" that dates to 1891. “Ripples ... (click for more)

Developer Of Publix Grocery At St. Elmo To Go Before Variance Board

The developer of a planned Publix grocery in St. Elmo will go before the City Board of Zoning Appeals on Nov. 7 seeking three variances. Mike Price of MAP Engineers said the grocery has been working with community members to try to come up with an acceptable plan for the site where the former Mt. Vernon Restaurant and Pizza Hut are located. There has been controversy over ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Drivers, Please, Please Slow Down

It is  heart wrenching  to see all of these automobile accident deaths in Chattanooga. Two weeks ago six people lost their lives. Last week two lost their lives and now this week we have already had four deaths on our highways. The major factor in these accidents is speed. The faster you go the less time you have to react to a situation on the roadway. Plus ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vols: ‘Don’t Let Up’

The idea was hatched a couple of years ago. Some Tennessee football fanatic had gotten wind that an Oklahoma player had documented his baptism to havoc inside Neyland Stadium. Offensive lineman Ty Darlington was part of that 2015 double-overtime slugfest against the Vols and, afterwards, remembered OU’s 34-27 win – after being down by 17 points earlier – was an absolute “dissertation” ... (click for more)