TVA, Partners Seek $350 Million In DOE Grant Funding To Lower Energy Costs, Strengthen Grid And Increase Clean Energy

  • Thursday, June 13, 2024
The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Thursday that it partnered with 15 local power companies to seek two grants, totaling $350 million, from the U.S. Department of Energy's Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program to fund 141 energy security projects to ensure local communities have access to reliable, affordable, clean electricity.  

If awarded, the grants will enable the construction of an inter-regional 800-megawatt transmission line to bring wind power to the region, will increase grid capacity by about 5,500 megawatts, and will unlock more than six gigawatts of solar in TVA’s interconnection queue to support economic growth and expand clean energy across seven states.
Through its partnership with others, TVA reports that the Valley region has already secured over $300 million in federal funding grants for 15 community projects through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. 
“With the sustained growth we’re seeing across the region, we developed this coalition to leverage this historic funding opportunity to add transmission and distribution capacity for the 10 million people in the Valley,” said Cindy Herron, TVA Federal Funding vice president. “If awarded, these DOE grants will help meet our region’s growth challenges by funding innovative solutions that will deliver vast amounts of affordable, clean energy and a sustained, competitive advantage to communities we support.”   

With TVA’s region growing three times faster than the national average and the University of Tennessee’s Baker School projecting the region’s population to grow 22 percent by 2050, TVA is building more than 3,800 megawatts of additional generation that includes solar, energy storage, combustion turbines and combined-cycle natural gas. TVA is making good progress building additional generation with 1,400 megawatts completed and securing about 800 megawatts of new solar. In total, TVA has more than 4,000 megawatts of solar energy either in service or under construction. TVA is a clean energy leader and plans to have 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2035 and is working to be net-zero by 2050. TVA investments in technology and carbon-free energy have resulted in the price of electricity for the first three months of calendar year 2024 being 4% below a year ago.  

As TVA builds new generation to serve the region’s growth, GRIP funding is critical because it will help deliver reliable, affordable, resilient and clean energy to homes and businesses. If the funding is secured the projects will:  
• Advance the quality of life in nearly 600 disadvantaged communities in the region. 
• Create about 800 jobs while expanding relationships with minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses.   
• Invest a total of $760 million in disadvantaged communities that will support schools, hospitals, public safety organizations and emergency shelters.   
• Directly improve the lives of over 2.5 million customers, while reducing power bills and increasing access to renewable energy to 10 million consumers.  
• Strengthens power grid by adding more transmission and distribution lines that include advanced conductors that will increase powerline capacity by 250 percent.  
• Mitigate risk from extreme heat, wildfires, tornadoes, storms and other severe weather events.  
DOE is administering $10.5 billion in GRIP grants to enhance grid flexibility and improve resilience of the power system against growing threats of extreme weather and climate change.  If funded, TVA and local power companies’ projects will provide critical support for state, regional, and national efforts to transition to a cleaner and more reliable grid affordably and equitably.   

“With nearly 60 percent carbon-free generation, we know we can do more, faster, should we be awarded this GRIP funding,” Ms. Herron said. “TVA is the clean energy model for the nation, and we will continue to partner to build a better future for everyone we serve.” 
What business and community leaders say about the GRIP grant: 
“This project promotes disadvantaged communities and overall regional resilience by reducing vulnerability to weather events, indirectly supporting decarbonization and energy strategies. This aligns with our ongoing efforts to improve system reliability, shorten outage durations, and enhance power quality to our community and critical infrastructure.” Mayor Corey Glenn, Amory, Miss. 
“Tennessee Wesleyan University’s commitment to this project extends beyond mere endorsement. We are prepared to provide expertise from our facilities and information technology teams and any other campus expertise that can be shared, reflecting our belief in the project’s significance.” Dr. Tyler Forrest, Tennessee Wesleyan University president 
“The initiative resonates with our organizational values, particularly by investing in infrastructure resilience, and implementing modern, reliable, and clean energy solutions to disadvantaged communities. We recognize the innovation approach and believe that collaboration can contribute to realizing the shared objectives.” Graig Davis, director of facilities, Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. 
“This project will modernize the electrical grid of our community to reduce impacts due to extreme weather, natural disasters, and ageing equipment. Updating the grid would ensure that industries, businesses, and residents, would be protected from power outages that would cripple our community.” Jerry Holt, president, Water Valley, Miss., Lions Club 
“Making necessary upgrades to the electric grid will improve our reliability and quality of service. Projects like this could improve our ability to provide telehealth services for our clients and improve the quality of life for our clients through lower energy costs.”  Caroline Chinouth, Johnson County, Tn., Health Department 
“Our Senior centers serve more than 2,000 members over the age of 65, some of which are very wealthy and some very poor. The reliability of our electric grid greatly impacts all our members, especially those in low-income households who may have no other sources of heating during the winter or cooling during the hot, humid summer.” Kathy Motsinger-Eller, Senior Center director, Johnson County, Tn. 
“We support the GRIP grant application through TVA and our local power company. A large part of our business depends on consistent communication with our customers and this project will provide uninterrupted electrical service not only to our corporate headquarters, but to our e-commerce business, our warehouse facility, and our retail outlet facility.”  William Sugg Jr., president. Hass Outdoors, Inc./Mossy Oak 
“We believe these improvements will help to ensure all of our students will have access to a more resilient power grid. These projects will be an excellent opportunity to educate our students on energy conservation and environmental stewardship.”  Dr. Lance Evens, New Albany School District superintendent.
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