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TVA reports new solar facility will supply energy to Google data centers

November 9, 2020

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
November 9, 2020

The Tennessee Valley Authority on Nov. 9 said that a new 100-megawatt solar facility in Obion County, Tenn., will supply energy to Google’s data centers in Clarksville, Tenn., and Hollywood, Ala.

Florida-based solar developer Origis Energy is using TVA’s Green Invest program to develop the solar farm, TVA noted in a news release.

The program helps customers like Google meet their long-term sustainability goals with new renewable energy projects. In the past two years, Green Invest has generated $1.4 billion in economic activity in TVA’s service area, TVA said.

Under Green Invest, companies receive renewable energy certificates. Companies initiate a project and TVA sources the power through power purchase agreements.

Through a long-term power purchase agreement, Origis Energy will own and operate the plant. Origis plans to have the solar facility operational by the end of 2022, pending environmental reviews.

To power the data centers, Google had already purchased a total of 266 MW of power generated by multiple solar farms linked into the TVA electric grid.  

Monday’s announcement comes on the heels of four other major Green Invest deals TVA has completed this year involving General Motors, Vanderbilt University, Knoxville Utilities Board and Facebook.

In August, TVA said that a new 70-MW solar facility in Madison County, Tenn., announced in February will support Facebook’s operations in the region. TVA is partnering with Nashville-based solar developer Silicon Ranch to develop the project.

GM will secure half of a 200-MW solar farm announced earlier this year by TVA in Lowndes County, Miss., which is being developed by Origis Energy.

In April, TVA announced that it had selected First Solar and Origis Energy to develop 212 megawatts of solar power to fulfill the Knoxville Utilities Board’s March 2020 commitment to new renewable energy.

KUB is using the Green Invest program to produce carbon-free energy equivalent to 8% of KUB’s annual electric load, TVA noted.

In January, TVA reported that a partnership between Nashville Electric Service, Vanderbilt University and TVA to bring new, large-scale renewable energy to the Tennessee Valley marked the first of its kind under the Green Invest program.

OPPD, Google and Facebook

Other public power utilities have also collaborated with Facebook and Google.

Facebook in 2017 said that it had selected a new Nebraska wind project to supply power to the social media company’s new data center in Papillion, Neb. The Omaha Public Power District played a key role in bringing the data center to Nebraska through an innovative rate plan.

In late 2019, Google announced plans to build a $600 million data center in Papillion, Neb., making it the second company to take advantage of the OPPD rate designed to help meet the needs of large-power, high voltage transmission-level customers.

TVA and OPPD in 2018 were recognized as among the top-ranking U.S. utilities in economic development by Site Selection magazine.