A vital TVA initiative is helping PES Energize apply data and innovative technologies to help construct the project.

The Community Hotspots is being considered for funding by TVA’s Connected Communities initiative, which uses community-driven information and the newest technology solutions to address challenges that include broadband access, environmental risk monitoring, digital literacy training and next-generation career options.

TVA is working with communities on pilot projects they value. The Community Hotspots will share more than $3 million in grant funding from TVA in 2022 and 2023 after review. The goal of the Connected Communities initiative is to support the best services for the people and businesses who depend on them.

The PES Energize Community Hotspot project will install public Wi-Fi access points in Lynnville, Elkton, and Minor Hill areas to offer residents, students, etc. access to quality internet at no charge. This will allow students to do homework without having to drive into town. This project will be very similar to the Downtown Wi-Fi on the Pulaski Square. “We are very excited to have been selected to receive this grant,” said Chelsea Ramsey, PES Energize Lead CSR. “We understand the need for high-speed internet in our rural areas and we hope residents in the area will find this to be very beneficial.”

The Community Hotspots was selected from more than 40 organizations that applied for funding during the initial call for pilots in late 2021. Each selected project supports at least one of three focus areas of the TVA Connected Communities initiative:

  • Equitable Access to Services: Services through broadband, modern technology and the knowledge and empowerment to use it.
  • Economic Empowerment: Economic security and the ability to contribute to a modern, 21st Century economy to the best of their ability.
  • Energy & Environmental Justice: A healthy environment) and reliable, affordable and clean energy.

The TVA Connected Communities initiative is one of the concepts TVA is initiating as part of the Energy System of the Future to help achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In February, the TVA Board of Directors approved exploration of advanced nuclear technology as part of its development of innovative, cost-effective technologies to support its aspirational goal of a net-zero carbon energy future. Other technologies TVA is exploring include next-generation energy storage, carbon capture, new hydroelectric pumped storage and hydrogen. TVA continues to expand its renewable energy portfolio, including the targeted addition of up to 10,000 megawatts of solar energy by 2035.

Dr. Joe Hoagland, vice president, TVA Innovation & Research, said production of low- and no-emission power is an important, but not the only, part of the energy equation for TVA’s seven-state service region. “It is essential for local communities to be positioned to take full advantage of TVA’s Energy System of the Future,” he said. “During the past year, the Connected Communities team and community partners have been working to understand Valley challenges, align best practices and build a roadmap to tomorrow.”

Bonnie Latta, senior project lead of the TVA Connected Communities initiative, explained that her team is assisting community leaders to prepare for the future by helping them to develop strategies that leverage technology and data. “Connected Communities is all about helping local leaders create plans through local teams, which is important for creating enduring benefits for people and businesses,” said Latta. “We are pleased to help interested communities build a localized strategy and implement a plan. By working in partnership with Valley communities and local power companies, we are continuing to make TVA’s seven-state region the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family.”

To learn more about TVA’s Connected Communities initiative, including resources and tools for communities to implement their own Connected Communities initiatives, please visit www.tva.gov/ConnectedCommunities or email your inquiry to ConnectedCommunities@tva.gov.

TVA’s Connected Communities pilot projects will be awarded funding after successful completion of required reviews. TVA contributes 70 percent of the project’s total costs, and pilot teams will contribute 30 percent… Work on the pilot projects is expected to begin this summer.