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TVA announces record hydroelectric power production in FY 2013

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The Tennessee Valley Authority broke its 40-year old record for electricity generated within a fiscal year, TVA announced following the close of the 2013 fiscal year on September 30.

The agency said its 29 hydropower projects combined to produce 18.5 million MWh in FY 2013, providing energy to 1.2 million homes and breaking the previous record set in 1973 by 122,000 MWh.

Tennessee Valley Authority plants benefited heavily from above average rain and runoff, the agency said, with almost 62 inches of rainfall and 30 inches of runoff recorded in FY 2013. The marks are 121% and 136% above their respective averages, TVA said.

"It has been a wet year, and our River Operations team took advantage of it," TVA vice president of River Operations John McCormick said. "We were able to generate electricity from the dams in months when we typically are trying to hold on to water, like July for recreation and stewardship purposes."

McCormick said the banner year saw hydro power's percentage in TVA's generation mix increase to about 13% -- up from between 8% to 10% in a normal fiscal year.

"This is a credit to all the hard working TVA employees who manage our integrated river system around the clock, every day of the year," TVA executive vice president and chief generation officer Chip Pardee said. "This includes the professional at the dams, in our river forecast and power dispatch centers, and the rest of our transmission and operations group."

Though some of TVA's infrastructure dates back to the its roots in 1933, the agency said 55 of its 109 conventional hydro generating units have been upgraded since 1992 -- adding 442 MW of capacity to the system.

In addition, TVA's board of directors approved US$350 million in August that will allow for the modernization of 51 more units, increasing its overall capacity by 184 MW.

The Tennessee Valley Authority reported in February that it's flood control program was also responsible for preventing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damages that might have been sustained during the region's heavy rains.

“In January, TVA’s operations averted about $800 million in flood damages and an additional $48 million in July,” McCormick said.

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