TVA looks to invest $300 million in new operations center in Meigs County

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) –  The Tennessee Valley Authority looks to invest around $300 million into a new facility and energy management system.

Transmission Operations and Power Supply Vice President Aaron Melda said that the new operations center is part of a bigger effort to prepare for the utility landscape of the future.

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“The utility is changing and you have options like rooftop solar, you have options like community solar, other renewable generation at the distribution level and this coupled with a new energy management system is how we are preparing TVA to continue to provide low rates, high reliability, and and bring jobs to the valley,” Melda said.

There will be a transition of some employees from the Chattanooga operations facility to Meigs County.

According to TVA, there are about 3,000 employees in the Chattanooga office complex.

About 175 employees in Chattanooga will move to the new facility in Meigs County.

That’s where they’re looking to build the new facility on the 167 acres they purchased in Georgetown.

“A common trend in the industry is to move from an urban center to a more rural area. So that’s one advantage for security purposes. Secondarily, part of our mission is economic development. So taking 175 employees out there, putting up a new TVA we see as a benefit to the local economy,” Melda said.

“I appreciate what TVA’s done for the valley, but in the last 80 years over 15,000 families have been relocated because of building dams or power plants and transparency is very important to build community support,” Greg Vital said.

Vital is a property owner in Georgetown.

He said about two weeks ago many people received a letter outlining TVA’s plans for a $26 million upgrade of power lines in Georgetown.

He said now it has evolved into the $300 million plan for the new facility.

“I think the community is somewhat surprised by the magnitude of the relocation and we just want to make sure that the community’s prepared, infrastructure is prepared and that they minimize the amount of eminent domain or look for alternative routes to run the power lines that don’t destroy property values, farmland,” Vital said.

TVA officials said they hope to break ground on the project around this time next year and have it operating by 2023.

TVA is holding an informational meeting from 3p to 7p Thursday at the Cedar Ridge Seventh-Day Adventist Fellowship Hall in Georgetown.

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