Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland said Sen. Lamar Alexander “put his own agenda ahead of what’s best for West Tennessee” in his remarks this week against a project that would bring wind energy here.
Clean Line Energy Partners want to build a $2 billion wind-energy network (called the Plains and Eastern Clean Line) that would begin with wind farms on the plains of Oklahoma and Texas and bring that power here through 720 miles of overhead electrical lines, ending at converter stations in Pope County Arkansas and Millington, Tenn.
Alexander took to the Senate floor Wednesday to tell TVA board members that buying that renewable energy would raise energy rates here. He specifically targeted Clean Line Energy Partners in his speech, noting that a contract with the company “could cost TVA ratepayers more than $1 billion over the next 20 to 30 years.”
Roland called a quick news conference Thursday and called Alexander’s information “outdated and misleading.” He said many Memphis-area institutions, including Memphis Light Gas & Water, the city of Memphis, the Shelby County Board of Commissioner, the University of Memphis, the Millington Industrial Board, and the Black Business Association of Memphis, “all agree” that the project would be an asset here and its energy would save money for TVA ratepayers.
“Senator Alexander obviously didn’t take note of what happened in November,” Roland said in a statement. “The American people voted for public-private partnerships, new infrastructure, job creation, and economic opportunity.
“It’s no secret that Sen. Alexander opposes wind energy, but he shouldn’t be opposed to building new infrastructure and most importantly he should not be opposed to lower costs for TVA customers. He must have missed the fact that this project will add zero debt to TVA.”
Roland said the converter station to be built in his district would be a $300 million private investment, create 100 jobs, and bring in $36 million in new tax revenue in its first 10 years of existence.
He said the project would help “our country realize President (Donald) Trump’s vision” for more infrastructure here.