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wholesale power supply for our members,” says Damon Morgan, vice president of Power Supply at PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, the Andalusiabased generation and transmission cooperative. “The power supply plan accommodates uncertainties about fuel price volatility, environmental policy, and global competition for fuel, commodities and construction materials.” PowerSouth supplies power to 16 electric cooperatives and four municipal electric systems in Alabama and northwest Florida using a mix of fuel resources. Currently, more than 95 percent of PowerSouth’s electricity comes from coal- and natural gas-fired power plants. The co-op plans to trim that to 70 percent by 2030, with 26 percent coming from nuclear reactors in Georgia. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the federally owned corporation that

provides power to electric cooperatives serving northern counties in the state, has an Integrated Resource Plan that lays out generation options over the next two decades. The plan takes into account various possible federal regulations. “Diversity proved to be the most prudent course in meeting future energy needs in all the various future scenarios we studied,” TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore said in announcing the plan last April. “A variety of electricity sources, rather than heavy reliance on any single source, reduces long-term risks and helps keep costs steady and predictable.” Following the plan’s release, TVA announced an agreement with EPA to retire, or take offline, older coal-fired generators at three power plants – two in Tennessee and most of the units at Widows Creek Fossil Plant near Ste-

venson, Ala. The shut-downs, which include about 2,700 megawatts of coalfired capacity, mean TVA will have idled or retired nearly 16 percent of its coal-fired capacity by the end of 2017. Such efforts can be costly: TVA has invested more than $5.3 billion to reduce coal-fired power plant emissions since 1977, with an additional $3 billion to $5 billion in plant upgrades expected in the next decade. The capacity will be replaced with renewable energy, natural gas, nuclear power and energy efficiency efforts, according to TVA. “The current economic downturn has lowered electricity demand and provided an opportunity to plan for future generation,” AREA’s Braswell says. “Although diversity is important in ensuring reliability in coming decades, affordable coal power will continue to play a central role in Alabama.” A

“Coal is an affordable and abundant fuel source, which helps keep Alabama’s electric rates below the national average.” – Fred Braswell, CEO Alabama Rural Electric Association

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2012  15

Alabama Living TREC February 2012  

Alabama Living TREC February 2012