The goal was to find out more about how TVA is looking at Clean Line through its IRP lens, and the likelihood that TVA may purchase the Plains & Eastern Clean Line's 3500MW payload. As my Magic 8 Ball is fond of saying, "Don't count on it."
Although viewing from afar, we could tell that the room smelled like pizza and ponies, and could predict with amazing accuracy what the next speaker in line was going to talk about just by viewing the lower half of their outfit, their shoes, and any props they were carrying as they waited their turn at the microphone. One college student's main goal seemed to be to mention Clean Line. He was rebuffed by TVA staff, who told him they didn't model any specific transaction, and proceeded to list the different wind resource possibilities that were modeled: 1) Wind in the TVA footprint; 2) Wind in the Midwest delivered via existing transmission; and 3) long-distance HVDC wind injection.
Hey, wait a tick, did he say Midwest wind delivered via existing transmission? So Clean Line is WRONG when it claims that existing transmission lines cannot deliver any new Midwest wind? Sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise!
TVA's patient staff listened to a few pointless climate change speeches that went on way too long. If there was a point to them that actually related to any specific part of the IRP, I'm not sure what it was.
TVA explained that it had modeled the HVDC option at a 50% capacity factor, however HVDC could not be depended on to actually deliver, so therefore it was modeled differently at peak load times. That was sort of confusing, considering the clear and concise answers TVA provided to a similar question last June.
TVA analyzes historic and forecasted wind patterns to determine expected wind
deliveries at our system peak. Our forecasting and planning processes reflect
adjustment to wind generation at our summer peaks based on this analysis. Clean
Line has told us that a production profile provided by the independent meteorology
firm, 3Tier Oklahoma, shows that panhandle wind energy produces at about a 50
percent capacity factor between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., thus
contributing to meeting peak demand. TVA's current wind resources produced
about 25 percent average capacity factor over that peak period last summer, with
significant variation each day (between 5 and 65 percent capacity factor). TVA will
take the seasonal and time-of-day energy patterns of wind into account when
evaluating adding additional wind energy to its portfolio.
Because wind is an intermittent resource that lacks some of the dispatch capability
of other resources, it does not eliminate the need for base load or dispatchable
power plants like nuclear, natural gas, coal and hydropower. Adding intermittent
generation resources like wind can be challenging to manage, particularly as the
volume of generation from those sources increases. Wind patterns are fairly
predictable, but not entirely so; in addition, weather and other factors can affect
output. To maintain reliability, a wind energy purchaser must keep adequate
capacity and spinning reserves to cover the variability inherent to wind. Spinning
reserve is typically calculated as the amount of capacity available to cover the loss of the largest generation source on the system. Utilities across the country have
been integrating more wind into their systems over the last several years, and TVA
already integrates 1,515 megawatts of off-system wind power. The industry has
growing experience with this issue, but it does make ensuring reliability more
We were also told that calculating spinning reserve was an operational issue that would be undertaken outside the IRP, and the question about how much that would add to the cost of HVDC wind injection was avoided completely. So, I guess that question remains unanswered, except for the part of TVA's June 2014 letter that advised TVA would consider all costs in its IRP?
TVA is studying the addition of new wind energy resources as part of the
development of its new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). This process provides
opportunity for public participation. When TVA evaluates the cost of wind energy,
we include the value of the energy itself, as well as the cost to transmit out-of-valley
wind energy to the Tennessee Valley. In addition, there are costs associated with
the intermittent nature of wind generation. Through the IRP, TVA will rigorously compare wind energy purchases against other alternative sources of energy
(renewables, new and existing TVA generating assets, or purchased power) to serve local power companies and directly-served customers in a cost-effective manner.
If you'd like to watch the video (and you live somewhere out in the sticks where you have "high speed" internet that actually allows you to watch video) you can check it out here.