Brisk winds across the Illinois plains are now blowing clean, renewable energy into the Tennessee Valley Authority service region.

On Tuesday, May 11, TVA began transmitting to its customers 300 MW of renewable wind power received from Iberdrola Renewables Inc.'s Streator Cayuga Ridge wind park in Livingston County, Illinois.

This marks the first delivery under seven contracts TVA recently signed to purchase up to 1380 MW of renewable wind energy from the Midwest.

"Activation of this new wind-power source is an important milestone in our plans to expand TVA's clean and renewable energy options," said John Trawick, TVA senior vice president of Commercial Operations and Pricing. "We anticipate a long and productive working relationship with Iberdrola Renewables as we continue to grow our alternative energy portfolio."

The Iberdrola Renewables purchase agreement is the largest of TVA's wind-power contracts, which altogether may 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 115 MW scheduled to arrive this fall from Horizon Wind Energy LLC's Pioneer Prairie wind farm in Howard and Mitchell counties in Iowa.

Because inconsistent and generally lower-speed winds in the Southeast make local wind-power projects less reliable and feasible 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 2000 MW of new renewable or clean energy for TVA's generating system. TVA's current renewable energy portfolio includes about 4800 MW from hydro, wind, solar and methane sources. In addition, TVA's nuclear plants contribute 6900 MW of low-or-no-emission electricity to the power grid.