The Power of Partnership Between AEC and MU Fuels Clean Energy and Projected Savings

White Pine, Tennessee, July 28, 2022 – Appalachian Electric Cooperative (AEC) and Morristown Utilities Commission (MUC) Boards have executed a Power Purchase Agreement with Dancing Horse, LLC (Sunrise Energy Ventures) to purchase solar power from a joint project to be located in White Pine. Both utilities have long-term power contracts with TVA and in exchange, TVA has provided a “Flexibility Option” as part of their power contract. This option allows local power companies (LPCs) to generate up to five percent of their energy needs locally. AEC and MUC could have each built their own projects, but by working together, both utilities can take advantage of the efficiencies provided by a larger project. As the modern economy is increasingly turning to electricity as its primary fuel source, electric co-ops and municipals are looking beyond traditional generation to provide clean, affordable energy for our communities, now and in the future. The two utilities came together and agreed to pool their Flexibility Option allocations to see if a joint solar project could yield economies of scale, resulting in a better price point.

The project is sized at 24.75 megawatts (MW) of solar and will cover about 200 acres of land in the White Pine area. It is located within AEC’s service area; however, the power generated will connect to a substation where both AEC and MUC take power from TVA. Each utility will be allocated 50% of the total power produced or 12.375 MW each. The project will include over 63,000 solar modules, and the solar panels will be attached to a tracking system, so they move or track the sun as it moves across the sky. The system is expected to produce over 53 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) the first year, or enough power to supply 3,600 homes on average for an entire year (avg. of 14,400 kWh/year/home).

This project is expected to be operational in the spring of 2024. AEC General Manager, Greg Williams says, “We’re very excited about the opportunity this presents to the Co-op, and the savings it will provide to members. We appreciate the landowner who is allowing the project on their farm, as well as the communities we serve being willing to work with us on this project. ”

AEC and MUC are the first in the Valley to work on a joint project that will benefit both utilities. There is no capital cost to either utility with all construction and maintenance costs to be handled by Dancing Horse. The contract is for 30 years at a fixed rate per kWh. Projected savings for each utility as compared to power cost from TVA will be approximately $700,000 per year, per utility.

MUC General Manager, Jody Wigington, remarked, “This agreement is the next step in an important project that will financially benefit our rate payers for many years to come.  This renewable generation proves our commitment to the environment and positions the Lakeway area as a great place to live and work.”

More about Appalachian Electric Cooperative

AEC receives power from TVA at four delivery point substations and operates 12 distribution substations across the service area, serving portions of Jefferson, Hamblen, Hawkins, Grainger and Sevier counties. AEC serves over 49,000 members across 2,729 miles of utility line with a peak system demand of 330 MW.

More about Morristown Utilities Commission

Morristown Utilities Commission serves power to approximately 15,500 customers in the city of Morristown. With a peak system load of 170 MW, MUC receives power from TVA at two delivery point substations, which subsequently feeds ten distribution substations in a redundant scheme. All distribution lines are protected by state-of-the-art digital relays and multiple 3-phase reclosers, providing the optimum in line coordination and fault isolation.