Loudon Utilities Board approved Monday an agreement with Tennessee Valley Authority to allow flexibility in where the city gets power.
“This would enable LUB to supplement power purchased from TVA from third-party power suppliers, namely those in the renewable fields, specifically solar generations,” Ty Ross, LUB manager, said. “There’s a movement across the valley to allow flexibility in this regard, and that’s why it’s called a flexibility agreement. Our director of electric Bill Watkins is currently in negotiation with a solar power producer that would like to locate and produce in this area.”
Passing the resolution is the first step to enable talks with providers. Watkins will delve into serious conversation with third-party energy suppliers.
Watkins presented the board with information about solar energy at a Sept. 14 workshop.
“This is a baby step to be able to address concerns both with citizens as well as members of TVA’s board concerning renewable power,” Watkins said at the workshop. “Should TVA go whole hog into this, and they’ve installed a lot of renewable power, a lot of solar. But they’re looking at being able to allow us as local power companies to be able to also participate in this realizing that through our working with other solar providers to be able to purchase power from them, this is generation that TVA does not have to build themselves.”
Watkins said solar and renewable energy is a direction LUB will go eventually, so getting a start now is beneficial.
Don Campbell, LUB chairman, wanted to ensure TVA was pushing the effort. Watkins assured him they are.
Board member Bart Watson asked if the new agreement would affect the discount in LUB’s current energy agreement with TVA.
“No, that discount is strictly with TVA,” Ross said. “The TVA board met this past month and we haven’t received official notification yet, but it looks like that rebate may increase over time.”
Board members Gene Farmer and Carlie McEachern motioned and seconded, respectively, to approve the agreement. The vote passed unanimously.
In other action, board members:
• Authorized a water sales agreement with Tellico Village Property Owner’s Association.
• Authorized the insulation removal of the operations center roofing.
• Authorized the repair and replacement of the operations center roofing.
• Established natural gas rates for October.