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Sunday, May 19, 2024

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OP-ED: TVA is committed to serving the real needs of the people of Memphis

by Jeff Lyash —

There are many issues that are important to the people of Memphis — both right now and for the city’s long-term future.

Since I joined TVA a little more than a year ago, you’ve clearly expressed them to me…TVA contributing to local communities and having more presence in Memphis. TVA helping to drive overall economic growth and reducing the energy burden on Memphis families. And producing cleaner energy, while providing low electric rates that remain stable in the coming years.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about who MLGW should purchase power from in the future. Other entities have thrown out numbers of huge potential savings, because they have an interest solely in making a profit for themselves.

TVA has been respectful of the ongoing MLGW Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) process, providing insights we’ve gained through 80-plus years of serving Memphis and MLGW. Now it’s time for us to make clear to you the real value of our partnership — instead of making speculative promises of potential savings decades into the future (with no mention of the billions of dollars MLGW and Memphis would be required to spend).

This week, TVA outlined a series of proposals – based on the feedback we’ve received – to serve the Memphis community moving forward. At TVA, we believe the people of Memphis deserve a partner focused on addressing their needs.

TVA’s proposals will invest in Memphis’ core communities and regional economic growth.  This includes investing $100 million over the next 10 years to support revitalization of the core communities and community development. As part of these proposals, TVA will also establish Memphis as the hub for city revitalization and energy reduction resources – creating up to 100 additional TVA jobs in downtown Memphis.

We will continue our economic development partnership, which in cooperation with MLGW, has attracted or retained more than 40,000 jobs and $5.4 billion in investments in just the past eight years. And we will work with Memphis to enable the Port Development Project, which could be worth more than $5 billion in economic activity.

TVA is also committed to strengthening our community partnership to address the disproportionate energy burden on many Memphians. We already invest more than $71 million a year in the community.

In terms of providing cleaner energy, TVA is a national leader – with the most renewable capacity of any utility in the southeast. Nearly 60 percent of the energy we generate comes from carbon-free sources. We are committed to producing more clean energy while maintaining our focus on delivering the reliable, low-cost electricity you expect and deserve.

Today, TVA gets renewable energy from about 4,000 locations across seven states. We are prepared to partner with MLGW to develop and install up to 200 megawatts of its own solar generation with potential savings of approximately $15 million a year over the next 20 years.

When it comes to energy costs and stability, Memphis starts from a position of strength. In partnership with TVA, MLGW today provides the third lowest costs in the nation among its peers. Our intent is to keep energy costs stable over the next decade.

Beyond cost, providing reliable energy is important to your families and Memphis businesses. TVA has delivered power to MLGW with 100 percent reliability for over 20 consecutive years. We are investing an additional $72 million during the next four years in the Memphis area to prepare the transmission system for future growth and jobs.

Collectively, TVA is prepared to deliver $2 billion in benefits to the people of Memphis. These are real, tangible investments, not hypothetical figures in a study.  These are commitments TVA will deliver, not unbacked promises.  These are facts others conveniently leave out of their sales pitch.

A lot of people want to sell Memphis and MLGW electricity for their profit and benefit. TVA wants to serve you and your community for your benefit — $2 billion worth to be precise.

That’s the value of our public power partnership. And that’s the firm commitment TVA presented to Memphis and MLGW leaders this week.

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