TVA will significantly reduce its use of coal within the next 10 years as it places another nuclear plant into operation.
Raymond Hruby is currently serving as the general manager of technical services at Watts Bar Unit 2.
Hruby brought a presentation to the Rotary Club of Cleveland Tuesday as part of an expanded outreach TVA wants to make to the public concerning the newest nuclear unit in the country.
“We have a very large team of over 3,000 employees, and a very experienced management team in place,” Hruby said.
He reminded the audience TVA received no tax monies to finance its operations.
“Some people think because we’re part of the federal government we get taxpayer revenues. We get all our revenues through the sale of electricity,” he said.
Those sales span seven states, more than 7 million customers, hundreds of utility outlets and dozens of large industries.
Hruby displayed two charts showing the how the agency’s energy is manufactured now and how it will be within the next decade.
Those numbers show coal is TVA’s largest energy producer, at 40 percent. Nuclear energy is a close second at 32 percent and gas is third with 7 percent.
“No one can see into the future,” he said. “You can’t put all your eggs in any one fuel source to develop and produce electricity. So, we’re actually transitioning to 40 percent nuclear, 20 percent coal and 20 percent natural gas.”
He said another 20 percent would be derived from hydroelectric production, renewable energy and improved efficiency.
“What this does is to allow us to ride out the changes in the markets,” Hruby said.
He noted natural gas was less than $2 per million BTUs two years ago. It is now currently priced at $6 per million BTUs.
“Coal is out of favor right now, and we’re taking a look at that because of some of the environmental regulations that are being passed,” he said.
For those reasons, Hruby said TVA is a “big proponent of nuclear.”
“It’s going to play a larger role in our future,” he said.
There are currently three units in operation at Browns Ferry in Alabama and the Sequoyah plant in Tennessee has two operational units.
When Watts Bar Unit 2 goes into operation late next year, giving TVA seven operational nuclear units within its system.
“It takes years to plan and build these facilities, and it’s done with much careful study,” Hruby said.
He said Watts Bar Unit 2 will be the first nuclear plant to go commercial in the United States since 1996.
“When it goes into commercial use in 2015, it will have been 19 years. The last plant to go commercial was Watts Bar Unit 1,” he said.
He said TVA was “well-positioned” to finish the nuclear units.
“We are the most experienced of anyone in the country in building these. We have the most recent experience in building nuclear power plants,” Hruby said.
He said Watts Bar Unit 2 would add 1,100 megawatts of electricity to the system which is “enough to supply 650,000 homes.”
Hruby said it will be reliable and “not emit any greenhouse gases.”
“It will run 24/7 around the clock, and plants typically run for more than a year before they have to be refueled,” he said. “It’s a very reliable baseload generation source.”
He said the newest unit is on target to be online at the end of December 2015.
“We are meeting all of our safety, quality and budget targets,” Hruby said.