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Distributed Energy Resources

TVA signs deal for solar-plus-storage project for Facebook

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on March 4 said it is partnering with Origis Energy to develop a 150-megawatt (MW) solar and 50-MW, 250-megawatt hour (MWh) battery storage facility in Lowndes County, Mississippi, to support two Facebook data centers in the Tennessee Valley.

Origis, through a long-term power purchase agreement with TVA that was signed on Facebook’s behalf, will own and operate the facility. The project, which is part of TVA’s Green Invest program, is scheduled to be complete in late 2023, pending environmental reviews.

“Our region is ready for companies who want to use renewable energy to achieve their sustainability goals,” Chris Hansen, TVA vice president of origination and renewables, said in a statement. “Green Invest is more than a renewables program; when businesses relocate here, jobs are created and people can find work – revitalizing both rural and urban communities.”

In August, TVA signed a Green Invest deal for a 70-MW solar project in Madison County, Tennessee, to support Facebook’s operations in the region. In that deal, TVA partnered with Nashville-based solar developer Silicon Ranch. The developer is funding construction of the solar facility and will own and operate the plant, which is due online in fall 2022.

In all, Facebook has announced purchases totaling 597 MW since 2018 that will be generated by solar farms linked to TVA’s grid in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. The project in Lowndes County, however, is Facebook’s first renewable energy project in Mississippi and its first large energy storage project.

Through its Green Invest program, TVA matches demand for green power from large business and industrial customers with renewable projects that TVA puts together with its development partners. The utility says the program confers to commercial customers the benefits of TVA’s scale and negotiating expertise in building power projects.

The program also helps attract new businesses to the region, TVA says, citing the 250 construction jobs, as well as full time jobs for as many as five full-time operations and maintenance personnel that the Lowndes County project will create.

The Green Invest program is also available to local power companies in TVA’s territory. In January 2020, TVA announced a partnership with Nashville Electric Service and Vanderbilt University for a 35-MW solar project in Bedford County, Tennessee. Last March, TVA entered into a deal to secure 212 MW of solar power for Knoxville Utilities Board’s customers.

In February, TVA said it has increased its contracted solar power capacity by 60 percent, to 2,129 MW, since October 2020 and that it expects to add 7,000 MW to 10,000 MW of solar energy by 2040.