TVA today announced that it generated more electricity at its 29 hydroelectric dams in fiscal 2013 than any other year in its 80-year history.
TVA said the dams provided 18.5 million megawatt-hours of energy, breaking the previous record set in 1973 by 122,000 megawatt-hours.
TVA said that was enough electricity to serve more than 1.2 million homes in its service area of seven southeastern states for an entire year.
The agency said above average rain and runoff fueled the increase in hydro generation with the Tennessee Valley getting nearly 62 inches of rainfall and almost 30 inches of runoff in fiscal 2013. The inches of rainfall amounted to 121 percent of normal while the runoff was 136 percent of normal.
TVA explained in a release that runoff is the amount of rainfall that actually reaches streams and creeks, and eventually the Tennessee River, its tributaries and TVA’s dams.
“This is a credit to all the hard-working TVA employees who manage our integrated river system around the clock, everyday of the year,”Chip Pardee, TVA executive vice president and chief generation officer, said. “This includes the professionals at the dams, in our river forecast and power dispatch centers, and the rest of our transmission and operations groups. Together they have maximized low-cost hydro generation for the 9 million power consumers in TVA’s power service area.”
“It has been a wet year and our river operations team took advantage of it," John McCormick, TVA vice president, river operations, said. "We were able to generate electricity from the dams in months when we typically are trying to hold on to water, like July for recreation and stewardship purposes.
“As our cheapest energy source, all this hydro generation has helped lower our fuel cost to customers.”