NHA Member Profile: An Interview with Jacinda Woodward, Senior Vice President, Power Operations, TVA

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NHA Member Profile: An Interview with Jacinda Woodward, Senior Vice President, Power Operations, TVA

DATE:

November 29, 2022

BY:

Marycella Dumlao, Meeting Planner and Program Coordinator, National Hydropower Association

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NHA Member Profile: An Interview with Jacinda Woodward, Senior Vice President, Power Operations, TVA

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The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a federally owned electric utility corporation with a service area covering all of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, and small areas of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. TVA provides electricity for 153 local power companies serving 10 million people in Tennessee and parts of six surrounding states, as well as directly to 58 large industrial customers and federal installations.

Marycella Dumlao, meeting planner and program coordinator at NHA, spoke with Jacinda Woodward, senior vice president of power operations at TVA, to learn more about her journey and vision for hydropower at TVA.

Jacinda Woodward, senior vice president of transmission and power supply, Tennessee Valley Authority

Marycella Dumlao: Could you share with readers some information about your background?

Jacinda Woodward: I started my career with TVA as a co-op student while I was earning my electrical engineering degree at Auburn University. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work in nuclear, information technology, transmission, natural resources and coal/gas/hydro generation. I love TVA’s mission of service and all the ways our company works to make the lives better for the people we serve.

 

Marycella Dumlao: Wow, that is an amazing journey. If you could go back in time, what would current Jacinda Woodward tell the version of yourself who is just starting out in her career?

Jacinda Woodward: Keep asking questions and volunteering to do jobs that stretch you to learn and grow. Figure out what you can do to help the team be successful. Be the person you would enjoy working with. Realize you will never feel finished with improvements in your current role. It may be time to move on to a new challenge anyway. You will find that leading people and helping them be successful is even more rewarding than solving technical problems (even though your dad said never to take a management job).

*NHA’s Future Leaders of Waterpower (FLOW) aims to create community and empower young and diverse professionals in the waterpower industry.

 

Marycella Dumlao: I love seeing a woman in leadership really blowing it out of the water! A topic our young professionals often discuss at FLOW meetings – especially our up-and-coming women engineers – is how to get a “seat at the table.” What advice would you give other young professionals and women in STEM who want to follow in your footsteps?

Jacinda Woodward: Be more interested in helping others succeed than you are in rising in the organization. Do your work with excellence. Keep learning and volunteering to help solve your company’s challenges. Work well with others.

 

Marycella Dumlao: What’s your favorite thing you’ve learned on the job?

Jacinda Woodward: It’s important to be competent in your job, but unless you are investing in relationships, you won’t be successful.

 

Marycella Dumlao: We are super excited to be in Chattanooga, TN, and to have TVA as the Host Utility for the meeting; thank you! We just confirmed Raccoon Mountain as our facility tour. What should attendees be looking out for on this tour, and what makes Raccoon Mountain unique?

Jacinda Woodward: Raccoon Mountain is TVA’s only pumped storage hydro facility. It’s a four unit 1600MW jewel that is our most flexible generating asset. It allows our balancing authority to respond quickly to unexpected system changes. These units can move from pumping to generation in roughly 30 minutes. They help us manage system minimums at night and peaks during the day. As more solar comes onto the system, Raccoon will help us absorb excess solar and return those megawatts to the system when needed.

Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant

Marycella Dumlao: What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about hydropower?

Jacinda Woodward: There are so many cool things about hydropower. I love the history of these plants and how they were built. You can still see the imprints of the wood framing used to form the tunnels and galleries. They are incredible examples of human effort to tame natural resources.

 

Marycella Dumlao: Talk to me about the ways in which TVA has utilized the unique abilities of hydropower on your grid.

Jacinda Woodward: TVA manages the 5th largest river system in the country. We have 29 hydro plants that we operate as an integrated system and this helps us manage many interrelated aspects such as flood control, navigation, energy generation, thermal constraints, recreation and ecological health of the river system. Our river forecasting center uses complex computer models to keep all these things in balance.

 

Marycella Dumlao: Can you share some of your exciting plans for hydropower at TVA?

Jacinda Woodward: We recently completed a study that helped us show the value of additional investments in our existing 113-unit hydro fleet. These dollars will help us perpetually invest in keeping these units reliable. Hydro power is the original renewable, zero carbon energy source, and we intend to keep them running for the next 100 years. We are also evaluating how we might expand our hydro capability by investing in pump back technology and additional pumped storage units.

The Norris Dam on Tennessee’s Clinch River was the first dam constructed by TVA and was finished in 1936.

Marycella Dumlao: Is there anything else you want to share with POWERHOUSE readers?

Jacinda Woodward: I’m looking forward to meeting you in Chattanooga! If you love water, then there’s no better place to be. Check out our Riverwalk, and enjoy over 16 miles of beautiful scenery with great places to shop, eat, and play along the way.