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First moves in the Southeast

America's largest public power provider, the federal Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), is launching a pilot green pricing program on Earth Day this month. But only landfill gas will be available until other renewables -- including wind -- come on-line, probably later in the year. It will be the first green pricing program in the US southeast.

Plans for a 2 MW wind farm, to be developed by enXco Inc of California, are still uncertain. A site for the plant had been located in Georgia, but local opposition prompted TVA to look elsewhere. "We're still looking," says TVA's Barbara Martocci.

In addition to wind, a Maryland division of BP Amoco will develop solar plants and there will be more landfill sites. The total renewable energy for the pilot program will amount to 3-6 MW. By 2003 TVA hopes green power can be offered to all its eight million customers in eight states (Windpower Monthly, January 2000).

TVA is spending some $7 million on renewables and the pilot program. Initially green power will be available to about 700,000 customers. TVA's goal is to have 1% of customers buying at least a year of clean energy. Blocks of 150 kWh of green power will cost an extra $4.00 monthly.

"For the price of a fast-food meal once a month, you can help bring clean technology and clean power into the valley," says Stephen Smith of the Tennessee Valley Reform Coalition. In a survey two years ago of 1400 valley residents, 84% said they wanted green power to be an option.

The launching of the program comes after the public utility formally inaugurated its Public Power Institute, which will specialise in research in renewables -- including wind and solar -- and energy efficiency. The institute has a budget of $8 million for its first year and about 60 scientists. It hopes to form partnerships with the US Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Electric Power Research Institute and local power distributors.

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