The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a corporation owned by the US government, has begun transmitting to its customers 300MW of renewable wind power received from Iberdrola Renewables' Streator Cayuga Ridge wind park in Livingston County, Illinois.

This marks the first delivery under seven contracts TVA recently signed to purchase up to 1,380MW of renewable wind energy from the Midwest.

The Iberdrola Renewables purchase agreement with TVA is expected to provide enough electricity for about 325,000 average-size homes in the TVA service region.

The next purchased wind addition to the TVA power grid will be 115MW scheduled to arrive this fall from Horizon Wind Energy’s Pioneer Prairie wind farm in Howard and Mitchell counties in Iowa.

Because of inconsistent and generally lower-speed winds in the Southeast making local wind-power projects less reliable than in other parts of the nation, TVA is contracting for electricity from wind-energy projects in regions such as the Midwest and Great Plains, where winds are generally stronger and more consistent.

The contracts result from a request for proposals in December 2008 to purchase up to 2,000MW of new renewable energy for TVA’s generating system.

TVA’s current renewable energy portfolio includes about 4,800MW from hydro, wind, solar and methane sources. In addition, TVA’s nuclear plants contribute 6,900MW of electricity to the power grid.

John Trawick, senior vice president of commercial operations and pricing at TVA, said: “Activation of this new wind-power source is an important milestone in our plans to expand TVA’s clean and renewable energy options.

“We anticipate a long and productive working relationship with Iberdrola Renewables as we continue to grow our alternative energy portfolio.”