Business Briefcase: Valley lures 127 businesses

Business Briefcase: Valley lures 127 businesses

August 5th, 2012 by Dave Flessner in Business Diary

Valley lures 127 businesses

Despite the sluggish recovery, the Tennessee Valley Authority said it has helped expand or recruit 127 companies across its seven-state region since the current fiscal year began last October. TVA said such businesses plan to invest $5.3 billion into the Tennessee Valley and add or retain more than 42,000 jobs.

But while trying to boost employment in the TVA region, the utility is cutting its own staff. TVA spokesman Duncan Mansfield said the agency so far this year has cut 670 positions from its 12,000-employee staff.

Most of those job losses have been achieved through attrition or relocation of workers. Only 227 employees in jobs being eliminated have left TVA since May and many of those have found jobs at other companies, Mansfield said. Another 261 of the employees whose jobs were phased out this year have found other work within TVA and the agency has decided not to fill another 182 jobs.

Benwood gives community grant

The Benwood Foundation said last week it has given the community organizing group Chattanooga Organized for Action a $40,000 grant to expand its organizing efforts for poor and low-income communities across Chattanooga.

Started in 2010 by Megan Hollenbeck, Chris Brooks and Perrin Lance, COA has evolved from a street activist organization involved in the recall effort against Mayor Ron Littlefield to a social justice group helping empower tenants in public housing and low-income communities. COA helped residents of Dogwood Manor form a resident association and worked to establish the Westside Community Association for the 2,400 residents in the area. Those groups fought back against the Purpose Built homes project discussed for the Westside.

"The work we did here in the Westside proves that community organizing works," said Caleb George, a Westside resident elected to the board of the Westside Community Association.

The Benwood grant will fund COA's justice school, including a series of workshops on helping train and organize those living in low-income neighborhoods.

Tennessee 21st in insurance rates

Tennessee and Georgia motorists spend a slightly bigger share of their income on car insurance than the average American, according to a new study by But the Volunteer and Peach states are well behind the most expensive states for car insurance.

Data compiled by the online insurance service said the most expensive states for car insurance, in order, are Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Mississippi.

The typical Tennessee motorist spends $1,452 a year, or 2.842 percent of the average household annual income, on car insurance. That places the Volunteer State 21st among the 50 states in the share of what people pay for car insurance.

Georgia ranked 17th among the 50 states with an average car insurance cost per year of $1,632, or 2.956 percent of the average household annual income.

On average, the typical Michigan household pays a hefty 8 percent of its annual income for car insurance, or $4,490 per year. By contrast, the typical Massachusetts household dedicates a mere 1.43 percent of its annual income to car insurance, or $1,128 per year.

Renewable energy earns TVA honor

An international energy markets publication has named the Tennessee Valley Authority as one of the top utilities for putting more renewable power on the grid.

Fierce Energy, an online newsletter distributed to more than 10,000 readers in the energy industry, rated TVA as "one of the 'fiercest' utilities in the market, driven by its unique approach to renewable energy."

Travis Mitchell, associate editor of Fierce Energy, said TVA "is taking deliberate steps to increase renewable power across its large service territory."

Fierce Energy praised TVA's innovative contract negotiations and structuring to address intermittency, congestion and other challenges to using wind, solar and other types of renewable power dependent upon weather conditions.

As of July 1, TVA power system had 4,616 megawatts of hydroelectric, 977 megawatts from wind farms, 61.4 megawatts of solar power and 26.2 megawatts of biomass, totaling 5,680 megawatts of renewable generation in operation.

TVA has another 593 megawatts approved, contracted or committed for activation in the near future from hydro, solar, biomass and wind.