KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Knoxville is now the No. 1 city in the Southeast and one of the top cities in the nation for solar power investment, thanks to the Knoxville Utilities Board and Tennessee Valley Authority.
“KUB is delivering on its promise to make Knoxville a renewable energy leader, and TVA is helping KUB make the community one of the top cities in America to go green,” said Chris Hansen, TVA vice president, Origination & Renewables.
TVA announced Tuesday the selection of Origis Energy to develop a 200-megawatt solar farm in Clay County, Mississippi, to support Knoxville’s renewable energy needs. KUB's investment in the project helped enable 50 megawatts of new battery storage technology that will increase power grid resiliency.
“We take our commitment of being good stewards of our environment seriously, and we are thrilled to work with TVA to put our community on the map for renewable energy,” said Gabriel Bolas, KUB president and CEO. “This endeavor benefits residential and business customers who can know that their daily lives include green energy resources, leading the way to a sustainable future.”
Last November, KUB announced that 20% of Knoxville’s electricity will be generated from renewable sources. KUB’s investment in more than 500 megawatts of solar will help Knoxville meet its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, compared with 2005 levels. In total, KUB will secure enough solar energy to power about 83,000 homes – a commitment that stands out on a national scale.
“Knoxville is serious about addressing climate change, and this investment by TVA and KUB positions us as a national leader. This partnership not only helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions – it gives our city a competitive advantage,” said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. “The solar power generated by this solar farm can fuel economic growth in Knoxville while creating jobs and opportunities for rural communities within the Tennessee Valley.”
Origis Energy will supply solar energy through a long-term power purchase agreement via TVA’s nationally recognized Green Invest program. Origis will develop, build, own and operate the plant using industry-leading land stewardship techniques. The project will create significant short- and long-term investments in the local community, including more than 250 peak construction jobs, with additional employment for three to five full-time operations and maintenance staff. Origis will complete the facility in late 2023, pending environmental reviews.
“This is our third utility-scale solar facility in Mississippi with TVA, and it demonstrates the success of Green Invest to connect local communities, private business and public power through renewable energy,” said Johan Vanhee, Origis Energy chief commercial officer and chief procurement officer. “We are excited to use TVA’s innovative program to contribute to economic activity in Clay County while helping the city of Knoxville achieve its carbon reduction goals.”
TVA sees a bright future for solar fueling the region’s economy. Since 2018, Green Invest has attracted nearly $2.7 billion in solar investment and procured over 2,100 megawatts of solar on behalf of its customers – maintaining TVA’s green energy leadership as the energy provider with the greatest amount of renewable generation in the Southeast.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.
KUB is a municipal utility serving Knox and parts of seven adjacent counties and provides electric, gas, water, and wastewater services to more than 468,000 customers.
Origis Energy is bringing clean and cost-effective solar and energy storage solutions within reach for utility, commercial and industrial, as well as public sector, clients. The Origis team has worked to ensure the interests of all stakeholders are upheld in over 150 projects worldwide, totaling nearly 3 gigawatts to date of developed solar and energy storage capacity. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Origis Energy delivers excellence in solar and energy storage development, financing, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and operations, maintenance and asset management for investors and clean energy consumers in the U.S.
Knoxville Utilities Board
Communications & External Affairs
Glenna Wiseman, 909-553-3141
Origis Energy, Miami 786-693-2624
Origis Project Page: https://origisenergy.com/projects/ms-solar-7-optimist-solar-storage/
KUB’s more than 500 megawatt solar investment is the Southeast’s largest municipal solar energy investment announced to date.