Chattanooga One of Two U.S. Cities Invited to Join the 2020 G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance
Established in June 2019 by the World Economic Forum, the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance unites municipal, regional, and national governments; private-sector partners; and local residents around a shared set of principles for the responsible and ethical use of smart city technologies. These technologies allow cities to use broadband connections and data to plan and utilize energy, transportation, health care, and communications in a more sustainable and equitable manner.
During its Smart City Expo World Congress last month, the World Economic Forum announced a list of 36 global cities selected to join the alliance; only two U.S. cities, Chattanooga and San Jose, were invited to be part of the inaugural cohort, which spans 22 countries and six continents. Cities selected to participate will pioneer a smart technology policy roadmap and will analyze and identify model policies regarding equity, inclusivity and social impact; openness and interoperability; security and resiliency; privacy and transparency; and operational and financial sustainability. The "pioneer cities" are expected to trial policies detailed in the roadmap and work with alliance partners to address gaps and improvements.
Chattanooga initiated its smart city work in 2010 when it became the first U.S. city to offer fiber optic internet throughout the Electric Power Board’s (EPB) 600-square-mile service territory. EPB developed the high-speed broadband system as an outgrowth of its effort to build a smart, more controllable power grid. The City has since formed the Smart Cities Community Collaborative, a Chattanooga-based research partnership that uses data from EPB’s broadband network to identify ways to improve transportation and reduce energy demand. This project, now supported by the G20 Alliance, will also work to identify practices that promote more universal smart cities standards and adoption around the globe with technologies that protect individual privacy and ensure equity. Click here to read more about the project.
TVA, KUB, MTEMC to Partner on Green Switch Pilot Programs
Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) and the Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation (MTEMC) have each partnered with TVA to establish pilot programs for their customers to support renewable energy production in the Tennessee Valley. Both KUB’s Green Switch Match program and MTEMC’s Green Switch 100 program allow customers to offset their carbon footprint with renewable electricity generated from solar (70%), wind (20%), and biogas resources (10%). Program participants pay an extra one cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumed on their monthly electricity bill. For every kWh purchased by participants, TVA will generate an equivalent amount of renewable electricity to add to its grid, allowing an average residential customer to offset up to 8,000 pounds of CO2 emissions annually.
Chattanooga’s Creative Discovery Museum Receives Second Solar Addition
The Creative Discovery Museum (CDM) in Chattanooga recently unveiled a new 41.9 kW solar array. The project, completed in collaboration with solar energy nonprofit Everybody Solar, complements the museum’s existing 10 kW solar system and will produce 56,045 kWh of renewable energy each year. The power generation from the new array will offset $6,120 in annual electricity costs and will save the museum over $153,000 over the lifetime of the array. The museum plans to use these cost savings to support both its “Museum for All” initiative, which provides free and discounted admissions to museumgoers, as well as its educational programs on sustainability and alternative energy sources. Click here to learn more about the museum’s educational programs on sustainable solutions.
U.S. DOE Releases Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap
U.S. DOE recently released the Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC) Roadmap, the department’s first comprehensive energy storage strategy for America. In addition to concerted research efforts, the Roadmap calls for a faster transition of technologies from the lab to the marketplace, focusing on ways to competitively manufacture energy storage technologies at scale in the U.S., and ensuring secure supply chains to enable domestic manufacturing. The Roadmap includes an aggressive but achievable goal: to develop and domestically manufacture energy storage technologies that can meet all U.S. market demands by 2030. U.S. DOE has also released two companion ESGC reports: the 2020 Grid Energy Storage Technology Cost and Performance Assessment and the Energy Storage Market Report 2020. These reports provide data that informed the Roadmap and accessible information for the entire energy stakeholder community. Click here to read more.
U.S. DOE Announces Funding for Solar Energy Technologies
U.S. DOE has announced $45 million in funding under the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Fiscal Year 2021 Systems Integration and Hardware Incubator program, which will support projects that advance research in solar hardware and systems integration, including the creation of a consortium dedicated to developing control technologies for a modernized electric grid. Topic Areas under this FOA include:
  • Grid-Forming Technologies Research Consortium
  • Integrating Behind-the-Meter (BTM) Solar Resources into Utility Data Systems
  • Product Development and Demonstration
SETO anticipates awarding funding between $500,000 and $25 million to approximately 10-20 projects under this FOA. Letters of intent are due January 11 and concept papers are due January 25. Full applications are due March 29. Click here to view the full FOA. Click here to register for U.S. DOE’s informational webinar on this FOA, which will take place January 6.
U.S. DOE Announces Funding for Bioenergy Feedstock Technologies
U.S. DOE announced up to $35 million in funding for bioenergy feedstock technologies and algae research and development, supporting the department’s goals of improving the performance and lowering the cost and risk of technologies that can be used to produce biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts. Topic Areas under this FOA include:
  • Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to Enable Production of Conversion-Ready Feedstocks: Projects will work on understanding MSW variability and informing the steps necessary to produce conversion-ready feedstock.
  • Algae Productivity Exceeding Expectations (APEX): Projects will 1) improve seasonal productivity of algae via a diverse portfolio of strains, and 2) develop tools to accelerate current and future strain and cultivation improvements.
Concept papers under this FOA are due February 1. Full applications are due April 5. Click here to view the full FOA.
U.S. DOE Announces Funding for “Connected Communities” of Buildings Powered to Transform the Electric System
U.S. DOE announced up to $65 million through its Connected Communities FOA to expand the country’s network of grid-interactive efficient building (GEB) communities. A Connected Community is a group of GEBs with diverse, flexible end use equipment and distributed energy resources (DER) that collectively work to maximize building, community, and grid efficiency. Under this FOA, U.S. DOE will fund a portfolio of Connected Community projects with varying climates and geographies, GEB types, and DER capabilities. Through these projects, U.S. DOE hopes to find and share technical and market solutions that will increase demand flexibility and energy efficiency.
U.S. DOE anticipates awarding 6-8 projects between $3-7 million each, for periods of 36-60 months. Concept papers are due February 17; the deadline for full applications is March 3. Click here to view the full FOA.
2020-2021 Better Buildings Webinar Series
U.S. DOE Better Buildings continues to hold events under its 2020-2021 Webinar Series, which will run through April 2021. This series aims to address some of the most pressing topics facing building energy professionals, with experts leading conversations on proven best practices, cost effectiveness strategies, and innovative ways to approach sustainability and energy performance.
The next webinar in the series, titled “Beyond Energy Savings: Quantifying the Additional Benefits from Energy Efficiency,”  will take place on January 12 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern and explores how energy-saving projects can yield extra benefits like reduced maintenance, improved productivity, and waste reduction. Attendees will also learn about a new methodology for quantifying these benefits.
The following webinar, titled “David & Goliath: Financing Energy Retrofits from the Tiny to the Giant,” will take place on January 19 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern. The webinar explores the successful implementation of two energy efficiency projects, one small and one large, and will include a facilitated discussion to compare and contrast the characteristics of each.
Click here for the full webinar schedule.
Save the Date: 2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants Virtual Summit
The 2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit will take place as virtual leadership symposium from May 17-20. Through the virtual summit, Better Buildings partners will have the opportunity to share best practices and new ideas for maintaining building operations, addressing workforce challenges, and continuing to improve energy security and resilience. The Summit will feature a series of webinars and peer exchanges as well as networking calls for the education, healthcare, local government, and workforce development sectors. Click here to learn more and to view sessions from the 2020 summit.
2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) published its 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, an annual report ranking all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for their work on energy efficiency. The Scorecard provides a progress report on state energy efficiency policies and programs that save energy while producing environmental and economic benefits, using data vetted by state energy officials to rank states in five categories—utility programs, transportation, building energy codes, state initiatives, and appliance standards. This year, Tennessee ranked 29th in the overall scorecard, jumping up one spot from 30th place in 2019. Find more information on the State Scorecard at
Wastewater Energy Management Toolkit
U.S. DOE Better Buildings’ Wastewater Energy Management Toolkit is a collection of resources that enables water resource recovery facilities to learn and benefit from the work of the department’s Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future (SWIFt) Accelerator. Toolkit resources support best practices and innovative approaches successfully used by wastewater facilities to establish and implement energy management and planning in vital topic areas such as energy data management, energy savings measurement and evaluation, project financing, and improvement planning.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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