TVA – some mysterious deal making
November 28, 2015
When it was first made public, Google had closed the deal with TVA. Government entities in north Alabama (mayors, councilmen, etc.) were sworn to secrecy; the cone of silence had to be in place. After all, giant Google with more power and influence than a 600 million dollar data warehouse in remote Stevenson, AL was the object, the pot of gold for north Alabama.
And after months of secret negotiations involving “hundreds” of federal TVA employees, (apparently they were sworn to secrecy too,) there was much jubilation, hooraying, and back slapping in celebration of the deal made with Google. Was it legal? Was TVA just showing how opaque it could be? In fact it is not right for TVA to keep ratepayers in the dark. TVA uses their money as if it was TVA’s money pot free to use without restraint.
Google explains what their setup is supposed to be like. Enamored with renewables, Google expects their new data warehouse to be fully powered with renewables. Their plant will require enormous amounts of electricity which became Google’s on a questionable land easement deal. Does TVA sell the electricity needed for the warehouse to Google? Google’s explanation of using the infrastructure left behind by the closed Widows Creek coal fired plants implies that the power will be provided by Google via renewables sources. Of course, TVA is not available for clarifications of any of this.
Here are some questions for TVA:
- Presumably there was valuation in TVA’s grant to Google for a permanent “easement” for some of the Widows Creek land. What and how much was it?
- Was the purpose in using the easement process to avoid the required bidding process?
- If so, does TVA intend to use this “go around” procedure in the future?
- The “deal” made with Google has mysterious implications as to the future of TVA. Should TVA become a private utility versus a federal one thus breaking up TVA into several parts?
Right now, it seems that ratepayers are getting the short end of the stick. If TVA were a stock-holding company, surely the CEO would have to go.