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Akio Toyoda, right, Toyota Motor Corp., speaks as Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, center, Masamichi Kogai, Mazda Motor Corp. president and CEO, listen during a press conference, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Montgomery, Ala., where the Japanese automakers announced plans to build a huge $1.6 billion joint-venture plant in Huntsville, that will eventually employ about 4,000 people. Several states had competed for the coveted project, which will be able to turn out 300,000 vehicles per year and will produce the Toyota Corolla compact car for North America and a new small SUV from Mazda. (Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

After luring a record $11.3 billion in new investment and 65,400 new jobs to the Tennessee Valley in fiscal 2018, TVA is being recognized by Site Selection magazine as one of the top utilities in America for economic development.

The trade publication which focuses on economic recruitment and development cited TVA among the best of the 3,300 electric utilities across the country in economic development for the 14th consecutive year that Site Selection has compiled its list. TVA was among the top 20 U.S. utilities in the 2019 list of best companies, which also included Alabama Power Co. and Georgia Power Co.

"More than half of this year's honorees have footprints in the center of the country, reflecting not only where the power and gas lines are robust and affordable, but the transportation corridors are too," said Adam Burns, an editor for Site Selection.

The Top 20 U.S. utilities in economic development were chosen based on new corporate investment and job creation announced in 2018, evaluated in both cumulative and per-capita terms.

Investment grows in the Tennessee Valley

2007: $5.6 billion and 45,300 jobs

2008: 5.5 billion and 42,000 jobs

2009: $4.2 billion and 26,000 jobs

2010: $4.3 billion and 41,000 jobs

2011: $4.9 billion and 43,000 jobs

2012: $5.9 billion and 48,500 jobs

2013: $4.1 billion and 39,000 jobs

2014: $8.5 billion and 60,300 jobs

2015: $7.8 billion and 76,200 jobs

2016: $8.3 billion and 72,100 jobs

2017: $8.2 billion and 70,076 jobs

2018: $11.3 billion and 65,400

Source: Tennessee Valley Authority

"Economic development is fundamental to TVA's mission of service, and our team is committed to furthering that mission by helping to foster growth in the Valley," said Heidi Smith, general manager for TVA's Global Business.

Site Selection noted that last year TVA helped convince Amazon to build a 5,000-employee support facility in Nashville and Mazda Toyota to construct their joint $1.4 billion automobile plant in Huntsville, Alabama, where another 4,000 direct jobs will be added along with thousands of other spin=off jobs.

TVA's InvestPrep site readiness initiative also helped spur $1 billion in capital investment from 73 announced projects, including 16 new plant locations, TVA community development programs aided rural communities with the Rural Leadership Institute, Valley Workforce Institute, Young Talent Initiative, Community Livability and Valley Sustainable Communities.

"Our community development programshelp support our local community partners to be better prepared for economic success," Smith said. "This goes hand in hand with our ability to provide low cost, clean and reliable power, in attracting major companies to the Valley."

TVA continues to focus on such target sectors as advanced manufacturing, aerospace and defense, power intensive industries, consumer products, industrial products and transportation-related manufacturing.

In 2019, TVA has added to its EnergyRight Solutions team, which is offering incentives to help business owners revitalize unused spaces in new and energy-efficient ways.

This summer the TVA board also approved nearly $548 million in tax equivalent payments in fiscal year 2019 to state and local governments in its 7-state region — $24 million more than the previous fiscal year. Two-thirds of the total went to Tennessee and its communities.

As a federal corporation, TVA does not pay federal taxes, but the utility makes tax equivalent payments based upon a share of its $11 billion in power sales to local communities based upon the number of customers TVA serves and amount of TVA investment in plant, equipment and other fixed assets in each community.

Contact Dave Flessner dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.

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