The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter on May 18, 1933, to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development to the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected by the Great Depression. Senator George W. Norris was a strong sponsor of this project. TVA was envisioned not only as a provider, but also as a regional economic development agency that would use federal experts and rural electrification to help modernize the rural region's economy and society.
,TVA's service area covers most of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, and small slices of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. It was the first large regional planning agency of the federal government and remains the largest. Under the leadership of David Lilienthal, the TVA became a model for the United States' later efforts to help modernize agrarian societies in the developing world.
In later decades, hydropower's share fell to 10% of TVAs power production.