Business Briefcase: TVA cuts 560 gigawatt-hours

Business Briefcase: TVA cuts 560 gigawatt-hours

November 4th, 2012 by Mike Pare and Dave Flessner in Business Diary

TVA cuts 560 gigawatt-hours

Tennessee Valley Authority calculates that its energy efficiency initiatives in 2012 saved enough energy to power more than 35,000 Tennessee Valley homes for a year.

Bob Balzar, TVA vice president for energy efficiency and demand response, said the programs reduced electric power usage by 560 gigawatt-hours for the second straight year; exceeded TVA's annual energy efficiency goals for the fifth year in a row; and raised total energy savings to more than 1,600 gigawatt-hours since 2007.

"We attribute the success of these programs to the strong support from local power companies, directly served industrial customers, consumers, businesses and industry," Balzar said.

Demand Response is a system that pays energy users to reduce consumption during periods when the cost and demand for electricity are highest, adding stability to the power grid.

TVA energy efficiency and demand response initiatives added the ability to trim an additional 227 megawatts of peak demand in fiscal year 2012.

In total these programs have cut more than 900 megawatts of peak demand since fiscal 2007, or the energy equivalent of a typical coal-fired power plant.

Also, the In-Home Energy Evaluation program completed 17,861 evaluations this year, bringing the total number to more than 46,000 evaluations since the program began in 2009. About 70 percent of those home-owners have made recommended home energy efficiency improvements.

Uncertainty restricts economy

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta says that uncertainty about the election and the outcome of the looming budget battle in Washington is already hurting economic growth.

In a speech to the Chattanooga Rotary Club last week, Federal Reserve Governor Dennis Lockhart said business owners are telling him that they are putting many decisions on hold until after the election when Congress must decide whether to allow scheduled tax increases and budget cuts to become effective.

"At the moment we are in a bubble of uncertainty that is restraining the economy," Lockhart said.

The Fed official said he doesn't expect Tuesday's election will have much immediate impact on the direction of the economy, but he said if Congress doesn't back away in some way from scheduled tax hikes and spending cuts as the Jan. 1 fiscal cliff approaches, the economy could slide back into a brief recession next year.

LaunchTN names board

Frank Williamson, Unum's former chief investment officer who now serves as an adviser to FourBridges Capital in Chattanooga, is among a dozen members appointed to the board of the state's public-private partnership known as LaunchTN.

The new state program is designed to help create, fund and develop high-tech companies in Tennessee. The board includes top academic, business and technology experts from across the state.

"If we are to compete in this global, technology-driven economy, we must be willing to integrate this into our overall economic plan," Gov. Bill Haslam, R-Tenn., said in announcing the board appointments last week.

Group salutes ABC Tree Service

The Chattanooga Tree Commission has recognized ABC Tree Service as the recipient of the City Forester's Award for excellence in tree service in the greater Chattanooga area.

The award marks the first time that the award has been given to a tree service.

ABC Tree Service has been in business for 32 years and is a full service tree company specializing in tree preservation and technical removals. The company is owned by Milan Meton and David Yost, both certified arborists.

Mexico plant sets record

The Mexican unit of automaker Volkswagen has set a production record at its central Mexico plant, surpassing 2011's full-year record with more than two months of 2012 remaining, according to Dow Jones.

Volkswagen de Mexico in a news release said it has built 510,235 vehicles so far this year and now expects to end 2012 with 600,000.

The German automaker's current full-year production record at its assembly plant in Puebla is 510,014 vehicles.

Mexico's auto industry as a whole is aiming for record output this year, from manufacturers including Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Daimler-Chrysler.

Resilient U.S. demand despite a sluggish economy, diversification of exports -- particularly to South America -- and a recovery in domestic new car sales have contributed to solid performance in the country's principal manufacturing industry.