Oak Ridge National Lab exec appointed to TVA board

The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Jeff Smith, Executive Vice President for Operations for UT-Battelle and Deputy for Operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to the TVA board of directors.

He was nominated September 21, 2017 by President Donald Trump. The confirmation will become official with the president’s signature and when he is sworn in by a federal judge.

Pictured: Jeff Smith

Smith along with James “Skip” Thompson, III; Kenneth Allen; and A.D. Frazier were among the four members confirmed to join the TVA board. They’ll be serving alongside current board members Richard Howorth, Virginia Lodge, Eric Satz and Ron Walter.

Smith delivered the following opening remarks before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works prior to his confirmation:

Chairman Barrasso, Ranking Member Carper, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Jeffrey W. Smith and I am the Deputy for Operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I am honored to have been nominated by President Trump to serve on the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors.

In 1999, I moved my family to East Tennessee to take on the role of Deputy for Operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The laboratory consumes significant amounts of power, and as the Chief Operating Officer, I know large amounts of reliable, low cost electricity is important to executing the important missions assigned by the Department of Energy to Oak Ridge. The laboratory often works with TVA to help recruit new business to the TVA region, and in my role as a senior executive I have participated in these recruitments and seen first-hand the strength of TVA as a driver of economic development. More personally, I own a home on Norris Lake, one of TVA’s reservoirs. As a result, I understand the complex dynamic between hydropower production, flood management, and recreational use of the water resources under TVA control. Based on my professional and personal experiences with TVA over the last 18 years, it is my belief that to successfully fulfill its mission to improve the quality of life for all who live and work in the Valley, TVA must provide clean, reliable, resilient, low-cost power to our homes and businesses, while protecting the waterways we enjoy, and the air we breathe.

ORNL has a longstanding relationship with the Tennessee Valley Authority, going all the way back to the 1940s and the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project needed a site with ample fresh water and access to tremendous amounts of power. Sixteen miles downstream from TVA’s Norris Damn a site was selected as the home of the secret city that would produce the nuclear materials that accelerated the end of World War II and helped win the Cold War. Simply put, without TVA there would be no Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

During my 18 years at ORNL, I have had the privilege to lead a $400 million modernization effort that has been instrumental in transforming ORNL into the Department of Energy’s largest open science laboratory. I oversee the day to day and operations of an organization with a $1.4 billion annual operating budget, we host approximately 5,000 researchers and associated workers on site, and maintain the infrastructure similar to a small city covering over 4,000 acres.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory operates one of two Department of Energy research reactors. Granted, the High Flux Isotope Reactor is roughly 1/10th the scale of today’s commercial power reactors such as those in the TVA fleet, but the responsibility for this reactor has taught me something about the importance of a strong nuclear safety culture.

I have also had the opportunity to be involved with TVA in several economic development recruitments in which the laboratory has partnered with the State of Tennessee, local municipalities, and TVA to attract new companies to the region. I can tell you that low cost, clean and reliable power is always a consideration in site selection. My personal experience tells me TVA is dedicated to working with local and state governments to encourage economic development and create jobs in the region and this is something that I will continue to support.

I have had a long standing relationship with Battelle Memorial Institute, a not-for-profit company that specializes in managing several R&D laboratories. I have served on the governing Boards for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Idaho National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. As a result, I’ve been involved in the recruitment and selection of several laboratory directors and in the event there is a change in leadership at TVA during my appointment, I believe I can add something to this process.

I have interacted with TVA as an industrial user, as a partner in infrastructure expansion, and to promote economic development. These engagements have given me useful insight into the breadth and depth of TVA’s operations, and to its importance for our region. I believe my background and experience has prepared me for the challenge and responsibility of joining the TVA board.

If confirmed, I am committed to working with my fellow board members and TVA staff to ensure that TVA continues to fulfill its mission to serve the people of the Tennessee Valley. I appreciate your consideration of my nomination and thank you for the opportunity to be here today.

Tennessee Valley Authority publishes Final 2015 Integrated Resource Plan

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has published its Final 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and associated Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The purpose of the IRP is to determine how TVA can best meet the energy needs of the Tennessee Valley region over the next 20 years while supporting TVA’s mandates for environmental stewardship and economic development.

The Final IRP and EIS are available online here.

TAEBC submits comments to TVA’s draft 2015 IRP

Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) members and stakeholders reviewed and offered comments to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in response to its Draft 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).  The IRP takes a 20-year look at ways TVA can meet future demand for electricity beyond that which can be met by existing power sources.

Our response stated that TAEBC members and stakeholders are seizing and want access to advanced energy technologies to increase their competitive edge in the marketplace. Owners of these advanced energy projects currently taking place are leaders within their communities; making early adoptions in technologies that benefit the economy and the bottom line. As these projects become more cost-effective and grid parity is achieved, consumers will meet energy demand based on technology preference and the added value distributed generation adds to their operation. We believe that TVA has the opportunity to partner with private industry to embrace the benefits of advanced energy for the TVA grid, the local power companies and the nine million ratepayers in the Valley.

Companies in the Valley also want access to these advanced energy technologies, and TVA is in a unique position to pilot, incentivize, deploy and evaluate these technologies.  The draft IRP might have included unintended consequences of limiting economic opportunities that advanced energy provides. We believe that TVA should not limit access to the $1.3 trillion dollar industry and should keep its options open when considering how to provide reliable, affordable and clean energy to Tennessee and the Valley.

Partnerships are a valuable mechanism to explore advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy. TAEBC was created to serve as a bridge between assets and the private sector to foster the growth of Tennessee’s advanced energy technologies, companies and jobs. We offered to assist TVA in developing partnerships to produce more advanced energy technologies to drive the economy and create more jobs.

In conclusion, TAEBC members and stakeholders are seizing and want access to advanced energy technologies to increase their competitive edge in the marketplace.

We encourage TVA to give thoughtful consideration to how the decisions it makes with its IRP may enhance or hinder economic development opportunities. There is no reason why Tennessee shouldn’t have its fair share of this global, trillion-dollar market economic opportunity.

TVA releases energy plan, holds public meetings

Last Monday, March 9, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) released a draft of its 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

The draft long-range energy plan aims to find the best mix of energy sources TVA can rely on over the next 20 years to meet anticipated power demands.

TVA began taking public comments on March 13 and will continue through April 27 as it works toward producing a final version of the plan to be presented to the TVA board this summer.

The comment period will include public meetings and a chance to submit comments to TVA online. A copy of the draft IRP and a related Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement are online at www.tva.com/environment/reports/irp.

A public meeting is being held today in Chattanooga (March 19). Other meetings will be in Knoxville, April 6; Huntsville, Ala., April 9; Tupelo, Miss., April 14; Memphis, April 15; Nashville, April 21; and Bowling Green, Ky., April 22.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel

TAEBC and TVA hold webinar to discuss the future of distributed generation in Tennessee

Left to Right: Cortney Piper, Interim Director, TAEBC, Joe Hoagland, Vice President of Stakeholder Relations, TVA, Liz Upchurch, Watershed Representative, TVA

Left to Right: Cortney Piper, TAEBC, Joe Hoagland, Vice President of Stakeholder Relations, TVA, Liz Upchurch, TVA

TAEBC hosted a variety of companies including Nike, FedEx, Lallemand American Yeast, Jones Lang LaSalle, Thompson Power, Siemens Medical and TRANE as well as companies from across the state to discuss the future of distributed generation in Tennessee with Joe Hoagland, Vice President of Stakeholder Relations, TVA.

Joe Hoagland discussed how to model and understand clean energy opportunities from a utility perspective and provided some insight on the future of distributed generation in the Valley.  One thing is certain: distributed generation is gaining in popularity and will continue to grow as part of the region’s energy future.  Commercial and industrial users are interested in low cost, cleaner energy that has high reliability and are exploring distributed generation sources as one way to help achieve these goals.  Yet as distributed generation evolves, it creates challenges to the overall grid system to continue to be low cost and reliable.

So, a key challenge for electric utilities is determining how to respond to marketplace demand for distributed generation while maintaining high reliability and competitive rates. That’s where your input comes in.

Joe Hoagland and TVA encouraged all end users to use him as a resource, in addition to the online resources such as the draft IRP expected in Spring of 2014. TAEBC will also continue to partner with TVA for in-person listening sessions in early 2015. Stay tuned!

For a copy of the webinar presentation, click here.