Repurposing Abandoned Power Plant

Remodeling and redoing old structures is a version of sustainability that has been around for a while. Recently, this concept was used when Birdseye Renewable Energy partnered with United Renewable Energy to take the unfinished Phipps Bend Nuclear Power plant and turn it into a solar power plant.

Construction of the original plant kicked off in 1978. Located in a bend of the Holston River near Surgoinsville, Tenn., the project was expected to revitalize the area's economy. The partial nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island triggered increased citizen concerns along with increased costs to meet new regulatory requirements. The TVA Board of Directors ceased construction in 1981.

Now, almost 3,000 solar panels sit on four acres just outside the shadows of the eerie gray concrete structures that were abandoned mid-construction. Rows of panels sits atop driven posts that slowly rotate to follow the sun's path across the sky and maximize the solar energy gathered. The energy is sold to Holston Electric as part of TVA's Distributed Solar Solutions program. It then flows across eastern Tennessee, providing enough energy to meet the need of 100 average-sized homes.

This project demonstrates how clean, efficient solar energy matches other forms of power generation to meet our country's growing energy needs. This green construction is a good example of sustainability for the future.

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