The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has played a pivotal role in the economic history of the United States since it was formed in 1933, when the country was in the midst of the Great Depression.

Created to help spur economic prosperity in the seven-state Valley region, TVA works to provide clean, reliable, low-cost power, engage in environmental stewardship, and foster economic development.

TVA Economic Development works to attract new business and investment to the region, engage with existing industries to grow, and serve with its partners and local communities to foster economic growth.

“Our product is electricity, but the mission of TVA is to improve the quality of life for the people we serve.” TVA Senior Vice President for Economic Development John Bradley said.

TVA has garnered international attention and admiration for how it has identified appropriate sites and built infrastructure that can accommodate a wide range of industries and companies of any size.

“We have to take initiatives to make these communities successful. We were one of the few utilities that initiated product development from a standpoint of investing in communities, both through dollars and time,” Bradley said.

TVA’s relationship with the Japanese began in the 1980s with the entry of carmakers Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee and Toyota in Blue Springs, Mississippi.

“The Japanese know that if they’ve got to be in operation within 12-14 months, they can do that on these sites,” he said.

With the predicted rise of electric vehicles, TVA has lent the right support to Toyota, Nissan and Mazda, as well as their original equipment manufacturer suppliers in the area, by providing a low-cost, reliable power supply.

“As a company, we spend a lot of time keeping prices low, while reducing carbon footprints for companies. One of the assets of the TVA region is the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is studying carbon fiber, a technology with a lot of potential,” Bradley said.