Neighbors Powering What Matters

Community Energy: the benefit of McMinnville Electric System and TVA working together
Community Energy

Community Energy—In McMinnville, Tenn., Our Power Means More

Our region is powered by a public power model — owned by and accountable to the people who live here. So the initiatives we invest in through our power model serve one purpose: helping our communities thrive.

Because we support public power, we all benefit from Community Energy. It’s the progress our model enables — like more job opportunities thanks to thriving and growing communities, outdoor recreation thanks to our protected lands, cleaner energy sources, and much more.

A Partnership of Service

McMinnville Electric System and TVA work together to power not just our homes and businesses, but our potential too — by combining efforts to help create a future we all believe in.

Working Together to Make Life in Our Community Better

Better Jobs and Beautiful Rivers

McMinnville Electric System and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.

In 2014, the city of McMinnville was looking for ways to reduce energy costs. Randy Garrison, the city’s Energy Advisor at the time and recently retired from McMinnville Electric System (MES), recommended that the city install LED streetlights. As a result, McMinnville became the first city in the Valley to install LEDs. Debbie Sain, communications and marketing manager for MES, said TVA helped MES secure incentives and provided guidance on selecting the proper lighting for the project. The innovative project was recognized statewide and earned the Government Environmental Stewardship award, which is presented annually to recognize outstanding environmental projects and conservation efforts.

MES and TVA continue to partner on several programs that benefit the community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, MES secured some much-needed funding through TVA’s Community Care Fund. MES, TVA and Upper Cumberland Human Resources collaborated on this effort to help those in need, including matching funds of $10,000 each provided by MES and TVA. The grant provided critical funding to help many MES customers pay their electric bills. Sain said educating customers about the fund has been a rewarding part of her job.

The McMinnville community continues to feel a lingering economic impact due to the pandemic. Because of this, there is now a greater emphasis on a need for jobs in the area. Sain said the TVA InvestPrep program and data provided by TVA has been helpful as McMinnville strives to secure new industrial building and sites in the area. This kind of data and preparation is key to drawing new industry and better-paying jobs for residents. “It’s a step-by-step process, but we’re in this for the long haul,” Sain said.

TVA resources benefit the greater McMinnville community beyond providing utility service. Sain shares that she is also a member of the McMinnville Breakfast Rotary Club, which organizes an annual cleanup each July of the three main local rivers, Barren Fork, Hickory Creek, and Collins. TVA is a major sponsor of the event.

Sain said, “We have over 200 miles of rivers in our county. It’s one of our greatest natural resources. It’s amazing how many people like to be on the water.” About 400 volunteers have participated in the cleanup program since it began 14 years ago, covering 55 miles of the river. Teams float to their mile markers and then clean their designated area. Afterward, participants are rewarded by floating on the river for the rest of the day.

Sain said the event is a great example of TVA’s environmental stewardship in the McMinnville community, “That partnership [with TVA] has funded most of our expenses for our river cleanup. People don’t think about TVA and the rivers. They think about TVA and electricity. We’ve had really great success with TVA being a Platinum Sponsor of our river cleanup. When this started 14 years ago, our waters were gray. Now they’re blue and green and beautiful.”

Our energy has fueled progress in our region since 1933. See the ways it's helping shape our future.

Resources for Your Home, Business and Life

Our partnership makes helpful programs like these possible.


TVA’s management of the Valley’s public lands and waterways provides many opportunities for Tennessee residents and tourists to participate in outdoor activities.

The McMinnville community enjoys fishing and recreation on three main rivers supported by TVA’s environmental stewardship program: Barren Fork, Hickory Creek, and Collins.


MES partners with TVA to provide safe, reliable, clean power to service area customers.

TVA supplies community energy to 153 local power companies and about 60 large industrial customers and federal facilities at the lowest feasible cost. Over half of the electricity generated by TVA comes from carbon-free resources. TVA’s diverse energy portfolio includes coal, gas, nuclear and hydroelectric plants as well as renewable resources. For over 20 years, TVA’s transmission system has achieved a reliability rate of 99.999 percent.



Investing in renewable energy sources — like solar and wind — helps keep our power clean and affordable. We partner with TVA to offer various ways for our neighbors and businesses to join us in supporting renewable resource energy projects in the Tennessee Valley and promote a greener energy future. From information that helps residents learn about their solar options to programs that allow businesses to support renewable energy and operate more sustainably, explore the resources available to you.



McMinnville Electric System (MES) partners with TVA to help customers make smart energy decisions and save money through TVA EnergyRight.

Our partnership with TVA EnergyRight offers you resources to help with your home’s energy needs. From DIY energy-saving advice to finding a local contractor you can trust, TVA EnergyRight resources can help you improve your home’s energy efficiency and save money on your power bill.

As of August 2021, 23 customers in the MES service area have participated in the DIY Home Energy Assessment and Home Energy Evaluation programs.

And learning how to be more energy efficient isn’t just for grownups. MES also participates in the TVA EnergyRight Monsters program to educate McMinnville area kids about where energy comes from in the Valley.

Community Energy - Residential