TVA

Internet giant Google plans to buy renewable power from Alabama and Tennessee solar farms under a new deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Google announced Wednesday that it will buy 413 megawatts of electrical output from 1.6 million solar panels at several new solar farms in both Alabama and Tennessee, the combined size of 65,000 home rooftop systems.

The two largest solar farms will be able to produce about 150 megawatts each. Those will be located in Hollywood, Alabama, and in Yum Yum, Tennessee.

The chief executive officer of the nation's largest public utility has announced his plans to retire.

Bill Johnson of the Tennessee Valley Authority revealed his plans during a board meeting Wednesday in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Johnson joined the federal utility in 2013. He turns 65 in January.

TVA says it could take months while the board searches through internal or external candidates. Johnson will remain CEO while his successor is picked and trained to lead.

Bellefonte plant
Wikimedia.org

The businessman trying to buy a mothballed nuclear power plant from Tennessee Valley Authority has been given an extension to complete the $111 million purchase.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports Franklin Haney signed an agreement on Nov. 14, 2016, that gave the former real estate developer two years to complete the purchase of the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in north Alabama.

TVA has now extended the deadline to Nov. 30.

Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant
TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority has begun a scheduled outage at its Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama to prepare it to generate additional electricity.

The utility recently issued a news release saying it will install 332 new nuclear fuel assemblies and perform a final round of modifications. Browns Ferry Unit 1 will be the second of three Browns Ferry units to generate an additional 155 megawatts of electricity.

Unit 3 began operating at the new power rating in July. Final modifications will be installed on Unit 2 next spring.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is set to begin charging its utilities a fixed fee that will likely be passed on to customers, no matter how much energy they use.

The decision by the TVA's board yesterday is deeply frustrating advocates for ratepayers and green energy. They say it will penalize people who turn off their lights or use renewable energy to save on bills.

The TVA says it is offsetting the fixed fee it needs to maintain the power grid with an equal reduction of about a half-cent per kilowatt-hour in the variable wholesale rate for electricity.

Within the next five months, President-elect Donald Trump could appoint a majority of the board for the Tennessee Valley Authority. The TVA is the nation's largest government-owned utility.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports three Democratic members of the board, including Chairman Joe Ritch, are leaving after the Republican-controlled Senate failed to confirm President Barack Obama's reappointment of the three directors last year.

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant
Wikimedia

The Tennessee Valley Authority has sold an unfinished nuclear power plant in northeast Alabama for $111 million.

Nuclear Holdings LLC purchased the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant at auction Monday. The sale price was more than three times the minimum bid of $36.4 million.

The company plans to finish the twin-reactor site as a nuclear power plant and eventually bring it online. The project could mean billions of dollars in spending and hundreds of new jobs in the Tennessee Valley area.

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant
Wikimedia

The Tennessee Valley Authority has set a date for an auction to sell an unfinished nuclear power plant in northeast Alabama.

The federal utility says the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant will be sold at auction on Nov. 14. Minimum bids are set at $36.4 million. The TVA won't release any details on potential buyers, so it's unknown how many bidders might be interested in the plant.

Supporters of the family of a 19-year-old man shot and killed by a Mobile police officer last month are calling for criminal charges against the officer and governmental changes.

Tennessee Valley Authority engineers say water temperature tests being performed on Wheeler Lake this week could improve efficiency at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant and keep power rates from increasing. 

The Decatur Daily reports that a team of TVA engineers is collecting water temperature and velocity information from the lake to use in computer forecasting models, which can help run TVA's dams and nuclear plants more efficiently.

The Alabama legislative session is over. Lawmakers have returned home, but some say very little was accomplished. APR’s MacKenzie Bates talks to one legislator who says there is still a lot work to do.

Lawmakers ended the session without agreeing a on a variety of issues like Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's prison construction proposal, how the state should spend the BP settlement from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the lack of money to fund the state’s Medicaid program.

A coalition of environmental activists is sounding the alarm about a plan the Tennessee Valley Authority is considering for storing its coal ash.

The TVA is closing down existing coal ash pond storage facilities at 10 power plants.

A solar panel park large enough to power 50 homes a day is being built in Alabama. APR’s Stan Ingold reports it is being built by a private company that will sell the electricity generated at the site to Tennessee Valley Authority.

Spokesman Steven Pitts for contractor ACE LLC Solar tells The Decatur Daily that the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based PJ Kraft Enterprises is developing the $690,000 solar energy-producing system. They are using nearly an acre of land in Elkmont, Ala. PJ Kraft is a company that invests in renewable energy projects.

Barry ash pond drain
EPA

All year long on Alabama Public Radio, we’ve been looking at water. Specifically, we’re reporting on the state of Alabama’s water supply and the health of our rivers. It’s a story of politics, pollution, and the obvious need that water is there when you turn on the tap.

Today, the topic is pollution. We'll look at how the state’s poorest communities are often hit the hardest by toxic chemicals, and how efforts to help may end up further hurting one Alabama town…

Arrowheads
UA

Members of the University of Alabama's Office of Archaeological Research are in the middle of a project to rehabilitate a collection of tens of thousands of artifacts first gathered in Alabama during the 1930s and 1940s.

The work began in February. It’s a collaborative effort between the Tennessee Valley Authority, which owns the collection, and the university, which is curating it and creating a comprehensive database for the government-owned power company.

The TVA’s Widows Creek power plant near Stevenson is shutting down soon, and it’s already found a new tenant.

Google plans to build a $600 million data center at the site with construction beginning next year.

The data center will be Google’s seventh in the U.S. and fourteenth worldwide. They expect to add 75 to 100 high-paying jobs to the north Alabama region once the new data center is operational. The facility is expected to support general Internet traffic as well as the many user services that Google offers.