Meeting May 11, in Murfreesboro, TN, the TVA Board of Directors approved a $300 million strategic fiber initiative that will expand TVA’s fiber capacity and improve the reliability and resiliency of the transmission system.

“Our fiber network was constructed beginning in 1988 and it is outmoded and insufficient, especially as the electric sector becomes more digitized,” said TVA President/CEO Bill Johnson. “This initiative could also assist with economic development opportunities for the Tennessee Valley. With a modernized fiber backbone for the transmission system, we have the potential to make some fiber capacity available to help local communities and rural areas attract and retain jobs.

“Broadband connectivity is vital for business and industry choosing to locate in the Valley. The economic development effort will be a partnership between TVA, the Valley states, local power companies and other service providers who have the necessary expertise,” Johnson added. “Throughout this process, our efforts will be governed by requirements that we maintain rate competitiveness and work in partnership with local power companies and others for the benefit of the public we serve.”

The fiber initiative will take five to 10 years to complete and will include 3,500 miles of fiber to enable broadband connections for more of TVA’s generating plants and as well as more of its customers.

The board also approved two major contracts that will help ensure a reliable fuel supply for the Sequoyah and Watts Bar nuclear units through the year 2030. Louisiana Energy Services, a supplier of uranium used in making fuel, was awarded a contract valued at $500 million. A $450 million contract was approved with Westinghouse Electric, or a successor, as the supplier of fuel fabrication services.

In addition, the board authorized Johnson to enter into contracts for work necessary to continue a comprehensive program to convert all wet storage of coal ash to dry storage and meet the environmental standards for water quality and effluents at those sites. The combined value of the contracts is capped at $1.9 billion.