CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (June 28, 2016) —The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District joined forces with the Southeastern Power Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, Inc., and their preference customers on June 27, at a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Agreement in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The signed Memorandum of Agreement provides power preference customer funds for the rehabilitation, non-routine maintenance, and modernization of the Corps’ hydropower projects in the Nashville District. In the next 20 years, SEPA looks to direct more than $1.2 billion to the Corps projects including the 28 hydropower generators the Corps operates and maintains.
"The type of teamwork that we have assembled here today is what makes us great a nation,” said Lt. Col. Stephen F. Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander. “This is an exceptional opportunity for advancement and growth for the Corps of Engineers, TVA, TVPPA, and SEPA as a team."
Jamie James, Nashville District Hydropower rehabilitation program manager said the coalition has been in the works for seven years and the agreement helps provide cost-effective energy for customers while also providing up-to-date equipment for Cumberland River projects. He said the MOA is an agreement among the Department of the Army, TVA, TVPPA and SEPA to use funds from power preference customers to perform maintenance, rehabilitation and modernization activities on Corps hydroelectric generation equipment. Agreements of this type were authorized under the Water Resources Development Act of 2000, Section 212.
“Our nation has many competing interests for the limited financial resources available,” said James. “In a time of flat, or declining, budgets, sources of funding to provide critical hydropower to the region are important and the funding available through this MOA allows the Corps to execute rehabilitation work at our nine hydroelectric generation plants at a faster rate than might otherwise be possible if relying solely on appropriations.
James said given the average age of Cumberland River System infrastructure of 58-years, and the average design service life of equipment, 35-years, it is important that the Corps has the means to do work that will maintain the capacity and reliability of the equipment for the consumers within the region.
"This MOA will help sustain the future of hydropower, and it is an excellent example of the cooperation and coordination among federal agencies and preference customers to rehabilitate the hydroelectric projects on the Cumberland River," said James.
According to Danette Scudder, vice president, Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, Inc., TVPPA is a nonprofit, regional service organization that represents the interests of consumer-owned electric power utilities operating within the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) service area.
TVPPA members include 154 municipal and electric cooperatives. Members serve more than 9 million customers in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia.
“We are one big team in this system and its all working together,” said John McCormick, TVA vice president of Safety, River Management and Environmental. “This is a very big day for us because it insures the importance of the MOA and assets that play a key part in sustainability for the region.”
James said the funding provided under the agreement allows the Corps to conduct work that will help ensure the ability to provide clean, reliable, efficient, sustainable and cost-effective federal hydropower for many years.
“Federal hydropower has been a valuable asset to the Tennessee Valley and surrounding region since the first plant was constructed, and these funds will help maintain the power generation infrastructure,” said James.
Power from the Corps units is distributed to residents living in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, and Illinois. The MOA provides a mechanism for power preference customers to participate in the work activities related to the agreement by providing funding to the Corps through SEPA.
For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.