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Cheaper Methane Loses Out To Prettier Wind And Solar

The Tennessee Valley Authority says it could generate more alternative energy for less cost, if only the public wasn’t so enamored with wind and solar power, The Tennessean reports.

Methane gas is half as expensive as wind power and a tenth the cost of solar power, according to TVA figures.

But it lacks appeal to the rate-paying public. “From a marketing viewpoint, it’s hard to promote,” said Jim Keiffer, TVA senior vice president of marketing.

TVA requires that at least half the energy it creates come from the favorites: solar and wind. From October 2006 to this month, about one percent came from solar panels, 33 percent from burning methane and 66 percent from wind turbines.

The agency’s Web site doesn’t mention how much energy comes from methane. it doesn’t show many pictures of the operation either, using diagrams instead.

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2 thoughts on “Cheaper Methane Loses Out To Prettier Wind And Solar

  1. did I red this correctly? The TVA is ‘required’ to use certain energy generating sources and cannot use what their own research says would be best in terms of cost and emissions?
    I must be missing something. Or the system is broken.

  2. TVA research cannot say that using natural gas would be best in terms of emissions – because that would be false. Wind and solar produce identically zero emissions while producing electricity; but natural gas does produce alot of emissions: CO2 and other byproducts of fossil fuel combustion. Methane produces less CO2 than coal, for example, but it still produces alot.
    So it’s no wonder that the public likes wind and solar much more than natural gas. And it makes all sorts of environmental and climate sense to require significant production from those clean sources of energy. To me, that does not imply that the system is broken at all.
    Finally, the story implies that the TVA considers methane to be an ‘alternative energy’ source. But I say, alternative to what? Methane is still a fossil fuel, so it is not an alternative in that sense. It still emits CO2 and other pollutants – no alternative there. It seems to me that the TVA is being a bit disingenuous here.

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