TVA transmission upgrade boosts power, economy in Mississippi

WEST POINT, Miss. – A $55 million Tennessee Valley Authority transmission infrastructure project in the southern portion of TVA’s Mississippi District is expanding power capacity, improving system reliability and helping boost the region’s economy.

Completed on time and within budget, TVA’s new 500-kilovolt substation in Clay County, Miss., was activated in June. The project upgrades the electrical power capabilities for a key section of TVA’s service area in Mississippi that is experiencing better-than-expected industrial growth.

“Recent economic expansion in this region shows how a strong TVA power infrastructure attracts industry, creates jobs and promotes economic growth,” said Tim Weston, TVA general manager for Customer Service in Mississippi. “The new Clay substation will help recruit more companies and support existing ones with quality power, reliable service and the capability to accommodate their expansion strategies in the future.”

The project supports electrical service and economic development efforts in TVA’s entire Southern Mississippi District, which includes the Golden Triangle, a growing industrial complex formed by the cities of Columbus, Starkville and West Point


The region has two Megasites that were certified by communities under TVA’s economic development program: PACCAR, to build diesel truck engines; and Severstal, to make steel for commercial and automotive uses. A third Megasite near Tupelo, Miss., was sold to Toyota for an auto factory now producing Corollas.

“The Megasites program, in which TVA partners with state and local stakeholders to market large industrial tracts to companies, has been one of TVA’s most successful economic development efforts,” said John Bradley, TVA senior vice president for Economic Development. “The Severstal, PACCAR and Toyota locations on Megasites in the Mississippi region have resulted in company investments of more than $3 billion and the creation of more than 3,300 direct jobs and thousands more indirect jobs resulting from related area suppliers and service businesses.”

Other plants locating to the region and helping to revitalize the local economy include the American Eurocopter factory and the Aurora Flight Sciences facility.

“TVA’s commitment to reliable and affordable power is an important part of our business plan and was an important factor in our decision to locate in Mississippi,” said Wilbur Winland, vice president and general manager for Severstal in Columbus. “The quality and dependability of the power system is vital to our production schedule and future expansion.”

The new Clay substation and two other TVA facilities in West Point, Miss., and Lowndes County, Miss., form the primary transmission infrastructure for the southern end of TVA’s Mississippi service area. The Clay project is part of a series of transmission infrastructure expansions and improvements in Mississippi, including substations, switching stations, breakers and new power lines, totaling more than $135 million. The work will help relieve power loads on existing area substations, help prevent equipment damage and continue to ensure customer requirements are met.