The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Tuesday that its Magnolia Combined Cycle Plant in Benton County is the first U.S. power plant recognized by the Department of Energy as 50001 Ready by implementing energy management improvements.
"It's exciting for TVA to have the first plant with this recognition because the DOE certification demonstrates TVA's continued leadership and innovation in the utility industry," said Cindy Herron, TVA EnergyRight vice president. "As the largest public power utility in America, it is important for TVA to be energy efficient in its internal operations, to make improvements to lower costs and keep grid reliability at 99.999 percent."
TVA EnergyRight identified an opportunity to use this program as a self-guided approach to gain energy efficiencies at the TVA Magnolia plant. The teams worked together to identify potential energy efficiency opportunities. Since May 2018, the Magnolia plant was able to save approximately 18 gigawatt hours of energy and nearly $1.2 million annually with no additional capital investment.
"The utility industry is evolving and we're changing the way we think about our day-to-day operations. Prior to this, continuous improvement efforts had led us to install LED lighting and now we're thinking on the next level, with input from operations and maintenance teams, to safely make better decisions around energy use," said Erick Watson, Magnolia operations manager and energy champion.
Energy efficiency opportunities were identified by the team who walked through the 50001 Ready process to identify when equipment such as pumps or fans could be run more efficiently or reduced in normal operations.
TVA also partnered with the Industrial Assessment Center at Tennessee Tech University. Funded by a DOE grant program, professors and students identified and made recommendations for additional energy efficiency gains that could be achieved through capital improvements.
"Teaming up with Tennessee Tech added the fresh perspective of the professors and students to the working knowledge of plant employees who together identified energy savings which ultimately resulted in cost savings for TVA supporting our commitment to keep rates low," said Watson.
Other TVA facilities with continuous improvement initiatives are now looking into how 50001 Ready could help them gain energy savings.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.