HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – While the winter storm continues to take its toll on much of the nation, leaving millions without power. Those served by the Tennessee Valley Authority have been able to avoid extended outages and rolling blackouts.
A Tennessee Valley Authority Official says the public power model and a diverse energy mix of coal, hydro, nuclear, natural gas, and renewables worked together to keep the power flowing through this weeks winter storms.
“We have been built and funded by the people of the United States. Other utilities have investors so they have quarterly earnings they have to meet they have some different criteria that can affect how they invest in their system,” says Aaron Melda, Transmission and Power Supply Senior Vice President for TVA.
TVA can plan its power grid and operations without pressure from investors.
“One we really work to balance cost and high reliability. Two we ensure that we have a diverse fleet so we have the ability to shift if necessary given different situations,” says Melda.
Melda says it would take temperatures of below 10 degrees across the Tennessee Valley for TVA to have to use all of its generations at once.
“If while all that is occurring and we for some reason lost a nuclear unit or lost one of our larger generating units it could put us in a situation where we would do what are called controlled shut downs of certain areas,” says Melda.
But that and or rolling blackouts would be highly unlikely.
“There are very very small situations where you could even conjure where we would be in a situation where we would have rolling blackouts,” says Melda.
This week, the TVA service region has had its highest power demand in three years.
“We plan to be able to meet a peak of about 33 thousand megawatts and as I mentioned before we have 36 thousand megawatts of capacity. You always have to have a certain amount of capacity beyond your planned peak for the ‘what if a unit trips off, what if something occurs,'” says Melda.
TVA says they are not asking customers to conserve their power at this time as a blackout would be very unlikely to happen in the valley.