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September 2011 Archives

TREEDC hosts alternative energy forum

The Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council will host an East Tennessee forum 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. October 7 at the Tellico West Conference Center at Grand Vista Resort in Vonore.

Panelists will discuss strategies to develop alternative energies in East Tennessee and will present clean energy case studies.

Topics for the alternative energies panel include:
Feedstock Development for Renewable Energy
Municipal Wastes to alternative transportation fuel
Clean Energy Partnership Opportunities for Local Governments & Businesses
Solar Research at ORNL
Clean Energy goals of the Tennessee Valley Authority

Case studies to be discussed:
Energy Efficiency Block Grants Update
Geothermal Opportunities for Local Governments
Solar Energy basics
Electric vehicles in Tennessee
Compressed Natural Gas in Tennessee

Registration is free through Oct. 3, afterwards a late fee of $15 applies. Seating is limited to 125. For information and to register email

Tennessee Renewable Energy & Economic Development Council is a statewide grassroots coalition of 65 mayors formed by the University of Tennessee to promote renewable energy with economic development.
 The Tennessee Valley Authority will promote recreational opportunities in the region as it commemorates National Public Lands Day on Saturday.

The federal utility will host a series of demonstration clinics and group activities to highlight hiking, bird watching, biking, kayaking and fly fishing.

TVA also will offer volunteer work sessions to give people the chance to participate in the stewardship of public lands.

The agency manages 11,000 miles of public shoreline and 293,000 acres of public land.

A full list of activities can be found at the full story on
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Pellissippi State Community College will host Rick Carson, TVA's renewable operations manager, on campus Monday, Sept. 26 to speak about wind energy from 11:50 a.m.-12:45 p.m. 

The free presentation is in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. 

Carson will talk about wind power and its potential for cleaner energy. 

TVA operates 18 wind turbines on Buffalo Mountain near Oak Ridge, creating enough energy to power about 2,780 homes.

For more information about this event, contact Ann Kronk, associate professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences, at (865) 539-7162.
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Tennessee's largest health insurer installing Chattanooga's largest solar array, reports Dave Flessner in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The company will spend $210,00 on the 198.24kw installation by Knoxville-based Sustainable Future. The rest of an estimated $915,000 price tag will come from a grant through the Tennessee Solar Institute and using other federal and state funds for renewable energy projects.

The system will generate more than 241,000 kilowat-hours of electricity a year, saving BlueCross an estimated $53,000 on its electric bill.
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The city of Knoxville will present a public rollout event for its new curbside recycling program 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in the Fourth & Gill neighborhood on the 1000 block of Luttrell Street.

City officials including Mayor Daniel Brown will be at the event to discuss the program's success and future plans.

Attendees will be able to check out the new carts and the pickup vehicles.

The event is a continuation of the cart delivery process --- the first recycling carts for the city's new single-stream curbside recycling program were delivered at the end of August and deliveries will continue through September 16. More than 17,000 residents have signed up for the program.

"We are excited to be able to start getting these containers to residents," Mayor Daniel Brown said. "Developing this program has been a long process and a lot of people have worked very hard to make curbside recycling a reality in Knoxville. We've not reached our goal yet, but we're closing in on starting this program and we are very pleased about that."

The delivery of carts to those who signed up by August 14, marks the last major step before the City officially begins the program the first of October.

This single-stream curbside recycling is supposed to make recycling easier by eliminating the need to separate by type of recyclable material or take to a recycling drop center. A cart is supplied by the City, and residents roll the cart to the curb every other week for pick up.

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TVA's Generation Partners program will limit projects to 50 kilowats per year starting September 16, down from a 200kw maximum previously.

When the program started in 2004 as a pilot, it helped spawn a surge in solar energy industry activity. However that boom is not sustainable, and the program needs to focus on residential and small business customers, as was originally intended, said John Trawick, TVA senior vice president of commercial operations and pricing.

TVA briefly suspended the project last year and has faced a gap in funding for the program as requests increased.

The change does not affect current Generation Partners' incentive levels, which will continue through 2012.

TVA and local distributors will honor commitments under existing Generation Partners contracts. They also will continue to evaluate projects greater than 50 kilowatts that are submitted by Sept. 16.

Renewable systems of less than 50 kilowatts make up more than 80 percent of all executed and approved projects as of July 31, but only 11 percent of the pilot's energy capacity.

TVA had 619 Generation Partners working projects through July, totaling more than 23 megawatts of solar, wind and biomass generation. Another 213 projects, representing another 45 megawatts of power, are approved by TVA and in various stages of construction.

Generation Partners was launched by TVA and local power distributors as a pilot plan in 2003 with TVA paying premium incentives to spur small-scale renewable generation. It is supported by revenues from renewable power "blocks" sold through TVA's Green Power Switch program.

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Plant converts landfill gases to energy

Alcoa Gas Producers LLC, an independent company, recently opened its new state-of-the-art gas recovery and power generation plant at the Blount County landfill.

The project allows the company to capture the naturally occurring, mostly-methane gas from underground at the landfill and use it to fuel a powerful engine, which in turn drives an electrical generator.

The company says 95 percent of the recovered gas can be converted to energy, producing enough to power about 1,000 homes. Because the engine runs on methane, it has almost no harmful emissions of its own and generates 1,000 kilowatts of power for every 100 kilowatts it uses.

Alcoa Gas will sell the power to TVA and plans to also sell carbon credits.

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Two Knox County Parks and Recreation greenway projects in Halls and Northwest Knox County are moving forward, after Knox County Commission approved the plans.

Nearly a mile of greenway, known as the Halls Park to School Link, will be constructed to connect Halls Elementary School to Norris Freeway, where work is currently underway on the Halls Connector Road Project. The new greenway will pass through what will become Clayton Park.

"This project will provide a safe route for students who walk to school, as well as additional recreational opportunities for Halls residents," Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said.

Knox County will use $501,282 in federal pass-through money from TDOT, with a local match of $125,320.

In addition to the Halls Park to School Link, Knox County Commission also approved an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to construct a greenway loop at the future site of Plumb Creek Park on Hickey Road in northwest Knox County.

The mile-long Plumb Creek Loop is expected to cost a total of $100,000, with $80,000 coming from TDEC and the remaining $20,000 coming from Knox County.

A dog park planned for Plumb Creek is one of the PetSafe dog parks that Randy Boyd, CEO and founder of PetSafe, has committed to building in our community.

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