The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) recently invited public comment on the draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) about providing a power supply to the Memphis Regional Megasite and the surrounding area by constructing a 500-kV substation and about 9.9 miles of new transmission line. TVA is also considering a financial incentive to Ford, based on the automaker starting commercial operations on its electric vehicle and battery plant manufacturing facility at the site.
The two alternatives under consideration include:
- Alternative A: No Action.
- Alternative B: TVA would construct a 500-kV substation and about 9.9 miles of transmission line to provide a power supply to support the Megasite and the surrounding area, and also consider economic incentives for Ford, with any final award dependent on the company commencing commercial operations.
The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council submitted a comment. Read it below.
NEPA Project Manager
Tennessee Valley Authority
1101 Market Street, BR 2C
Chattanooga, TN 37402
RE: Memphis Regional Megasite Power Supply – 500-kV Substation and Associated Transmission Lines Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment (Project No. 2012-36)
On behalf of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC), which represents over 20,000 energy-focused businesses throughout the State of Tennessee, we write to express our support for Alternative B in regards to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) associated with the proposed Memphis Regional Megasite (Megasite) Power Supply Project.
As you are aware, in September 2021, the Ford Motor Company (Ford) and SK Innovation announced plans to invest $5.6 billion to locate an electric vehicle and battery plant manufacturing facility (“BlueOval City”) on roughly 1,800 acres of the Megasite, with production of new electric vehicles and advanced lithium-ion batteries set to begin in 2025.
As Tennessee’s only organization dedicated to championing advanced energy as a job creation and economic development strategy, our mission is to help the State become the number one location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs. We do this in part by supporting TVA and our local power companies’ efforts to become the energy companies of the future. Selecting Alternative B will help fulfill that mission, particularly given TVA’s prior Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in 2016 for the transmission line routes at the Megasite.
TAEBC firmly believes that providing a reliable and efficient power supply to Ford’s BlueOval City is critical in enabling Tennesseans to reap the significant job and gross state product gains of Ford’s investment. According to the Center for Economic Research, a division of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TN ECD), the project is anticipated to generate more than 27,000 new jobs, both directly and indirectly, to support the site’s operations, resulting in more than $1.02 billion in annual earnings and contributing $3.5 billion each year to Tennessee’s gross state product.
Moreover, in 2019, TN ECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced the State’s goal of becoming a top electric vehicle producer in the Southeast and greater U.S. Alternative B will help make this goal become a reality, enabling these investments to create thousands of high-quality jobs for Tennesseans and furthering TVA’s own goal of aspiring to move toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
In the choice between doing nothing or taking action to ensure high-quality jobs, a robust advanced energy economy, and a clean energy future for our State and nation, the answer should be clear. TAEBC strongly supports TVA’s preferred alternative of constructing a 500-kV substation and 9.9 miles of transmission line to provide a reliable power supply to support the Megasite and the surrounding area, and to consider economic incentives for Ford upon commencement of operations.
Thank you for your consideration of these comments. If you have any questions about TAEBC or our position on this matter, please contact us at (865) 329-0553.