Did you know that the electricity consumption curve and regional economic growth curve mirror one another? So as economies grow, the demand for electric power production grows as well. According to the Department of Energy, Tennessee’s demand for electricity has increased by around 1.3% annually over the past 25 years. This trend is expected to continue or even increase over the next 25 years.
Currently, the state of Tennessee generates about 60% of its electric power in coal-fired electric power plants. This figure is only slightly above national averages, which vary from 50-55% depending upon which data source you consult. An additional 30% of the electricity produced in our great state comes from nuclear power. Tennessee derives approximately 9% of its electricity from hydroelectric sources like the Chickamauga Dam, leaving 1% to be divided between natural gas, petroleum and renewable sources.
Burning coal for electricity was first introduced in the U.S. in the late 1800’s. The concept is simple: coal is crushed into a fine powder and incinerated. The heat produced is used to boil water, creating steam. The steam production drives the rotation of turbines, creating mechanical energy. This mechanical energy is used to generate electricity.
About ten years ago TVA introduced a fantastic and innovative program known as Green Power Switch. This incredible program gives consumers the opportunity to purchase blocks of power derived exclusively from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Currently the production of electricity using these sources is more expensive than electricity produced from coal-fired plants.
The sources of this green energy supply are all over the state of Tennessee. One such source is primed to go online in our very own 2 North Shore parking lot- and this is something for all of us to get excited about! Very soon our solar array will be feeding green energy directly into the Chattanooga grid. Now you have one more great reason to support the incredible boutiques and stores at 2 North Shore. It is time for all of us to look beyond next week and even next year and start thinking about the Chattanooga our grandchildren will inherit. Help TVA and 2 North Shore create a future for Chattanooga that we can all be proud of, and breathe a little easier.