Public Power Institute. Technology at work for the environment


Technology Areas

Environmental Impacts and Reduction
Develops new ways to minimize environmental effects of power production. Current projects include carbon sequestration, clean air partnerships, Great Smoky Mountains air quality, and rights-of-way landscaping.

Clean and Advanced Energy
Focuses on technologies for cleaner fossil-fuel power production and advanced generation. Current projects include residential fuel cells and fuel cells and microturbines.

Biomass and Renewables
Works to promote and improve renewable energy technologies. Current projects include wind power, cofiring biomass
, and biomass conversion.

Energy Use and Industrial Ecology
Promotes cleaner, more efficient use of resources and energy by industry and consumers. Current projects include the frostless heat pump,
hybrid lighting, decentralized wastewater systems, and electric bicycles.

External Collaboration and Commercialization
Develops strategic partnerships to test technologies that are commercially feasible. Current projects include HVAC diagnostic testing with the EscanAC system, the Breakaway Link protective overload device, the frostless heat pump, the distribution fault anticipator and laboratory testing of BioTrans transformer oil.

About PPI
Why PPI exists and how it and its research partners advance new energy technologies. Includes information on PPI contacts, partners, and frequently asked questions.

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Clean Power From Wind

PPI has added wind power to TVA’s renewable energy sources with the dedication of a new wind-turbine park near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Buffalo Mountain Wind Park represents the first commercial use of wind power to generate electricity in the southeastern United States.

Three huge wind-powered generators were erected on the two-acre site in the fall of 2000 at a cost of $3.4 million. The generators add about two megawatts of capacity to the TVA power system and produce some six million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to serve more than 400 typical households in the Tennessee Valley. Electricity from the turbines is fed into the nearby Clinton Utilities Board power system, which is connected to the TVA power grid.

The electricity is sold through TVA’s clean-energy option, called Green Power Switch. The program gives consumers the option of adding electricity generated by renewable sources to the existing power mix.

The site on Buffalo Mountain was chosen for several reasons:

  • Existing 161-kilovolt and 69-kilovolt TVA power distribution lines cross the site.
  • Clinton Utilities Board has distribution lines on two sides of the mountain, and the Tennessee Communication Company has a three-phase line within one mile of the site.
  • Wind-monitoring data is available from both TVA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • The site is an abandoned strip mine. Such sites in the Tennessee Valley—flattened, treeless areas at elevations above 3,300 feet—could be ideal locations for wind parks.
  • The environmental community enthusiastically supports the “recycling” of abandoned strip mines into a new source of renewable energy.

PPI is working with AWS Scientific and True Wind to evaluate other potential wind park sites. TVA estimates the current two-megawatt capacity could be expanded to 25 or 50 megawatts.




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