MLGW determining feasibility of utility-scale solar facilities for 2024

(source: WMC Action News 5)
Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 4:35 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) will determine the feasibility and initial specifications for the first MLGW-owned, utility-scale, solar generation facilities, consistent with the current Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) power supply agreement in its effort to meet the need for clean, affordable energy in 2024.

This solar initiative represents the first step by MLGW to add renewable energy production.

CEO Doug McGowen also shared his support Wednesday for a proposal from TVA to transition outdated utility equipment in Western Tennessee to newer, more efficient, state-of-the-art systems, which would pave the way for renewable energy.

McGowen’s support for a wide-scale power production upgrade was heard at Wednesday’s TVA Board Listening Session. The TVA Board of Directors will hear the proposal from TVA staff Thursday.

TVA staff are proposing the agency replace 16 combustion turbines at the TVA Allen Generation site with six modern aero-derivative units that reduce poisonous NOx emissions by 96% and operate with a 33% reduction in CO2 per MWHr generated.

“This investment will not only improve grid resiliency in Western Tennessee, but will pave the way for installation of more solar, battery and other distributed energy resources, without impacting the reliability and quality of power that we all expect,” said McGowen.

“The flexibility of these new machines to provide frequency support to the grid when in a non-fired/condensing mode and also to provide power production on demand represents a significant improvement in our ability to add the flexible mix of energy resources necessary to meet the growing demand we see in Memphis and Shelby County,” he added.

The utility says it also plans to deliver utility-scale battery storage of up to 100MW into the local electric distribution system.

Once installed, these batteries will hold enough electricity to power the equivalent of 100,000 homes for four hours.

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