TVA Releases Draft IRP, EIS for Public Review
TVA recently released its draft 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The 2019 IRP is a comprehensive study that provides direction on how TVA can best deliver clean, reliable, and affordable energy in the Valley over the next 20 years. As part of the study, TVA must prepare a programmatic EIS to assess the natural, cultural, and socioeconomic impacts associated with the IRP. 
TVA is now inviting public comment on the IRP and EIS until April 8. To submit comments, click here. Comments can also be sent to or may be provided during public meetings throughout the Valley, including in Memphis, Huntsville, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Bowling Green. For a full schedule of these meetings, click here.
After public input is incorporated, the final IRP and EIS will be available to the public and then presented to the TVA Board of Directors for approval. Once approved, a Record of Decision will be published. Learn more about the IRP and EIS at
Advanced Energy a Boon to Tennessee's Economy
Advanced energy includes any technology that makes energy or transportation cleaner, safer, more secure, or more efficient (e.g., renewable power technologies, microgrids, battery storage, energy efficiency, efficient industrial processes, high performance buildings, combined heat and power, and alternative fuel vehicles). In Tennessee, the advanced energy industry outpaces the overall state economy in employment growth. According to the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the industry employed nearly 360,000 Tennesseans in 2018, up more than 10% since 2013, and the average wages for these jobs were more than $15,000 higher than the average state salary. In all, Tennessee’s advanced energy economy supported over 18,000 business establishments from all 95 counties, contributing approximately $1.1 billion in state and local sales tax revenue and more than $39.7 billion to state gross domestic product.
Despite a 3% nationwide decline in solar industry employment last year due to federally imposed tariffs on imported solar panels, solar employment grew by 6.3% in Tennessee, driven largely by the state’s solar equipment manufacturing sector, made up of businesses like the Wacker Chemie policysilicon production plant in Charleston and the Shoals Technology Group plant in Portland. For more information, click here. For more information on advanced energy impacts to Tennessee’s economy, refer to the 2018 Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report.
TDEC OEP Hosts Energy Education Workshop at Roan Creek Elementary
February 7, TDEC OEP conducted an after school Energy Education Workshop for third through sixth grade students and several educators at Roan Creek Elementary School in Johnson County. The workshop featured the creator of the Tennessee-made Electric Circuits KitBook, who provided a hands-on demonstration of simple circuits, parallel circuits, and series circuits. OEP provided participating teachers with KitBooks, other educational materials on electrical energy and simple circuits, and related lesson plans. Learn more about OEP’s K-12 Energy Education programming here.
Nominations Open for 2019 Governor's Environmental Stewardship Awards
TDEC is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the 2019 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards, which honor outstanding accomplishments that support the protection and enhancement of Tennessee’s natural resources. “Being good stewards of our state’s resources is part of what makes Tennessee the beautiful and remarkable place it is,” Gov. Bill Lee said. “These awards help show that we all can do our part, and I can’t wait to see the potential solutions that individual Tennesseans come up with.”
Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2019 awards, which include the following categories: Building Green; Clean Air; Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach (for both school and non-school projects); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; Sustainable Performance; and Lifetime Achievement.
Any individual, business, organization, educational institution, or agency is eligible for nomination, provided it is located in Tennessee and the project was completed during the 2018 calendar year. A panel of judges will select award recipients based on criteria including level of project or program completion, innovation, and public education. The deadline for nominations is April 30, and winners will be announced in June. Contact Kathy Glapa at (615) 253-8780 or with any questions.
U.S. DOE Funds Natural Gas Research in Johnson City
The U.S. DOE Buildings Technologies Office announced that it will invest up to $19.5 million in 19 early-stage research and development projects for advanced building technologies and systems that will reduce building energy consumption. One such project by Stone Mountain Technologies in Johnson City will investigate the use of aluminum as a construction material for evaporators in a heat pump used for natural gas-fired power generation, to significantly reduce the pump’s weight and cost. Click here to learn more.
LEDs Make Public Spaces Brighter, Safer, and More Efficient
Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and other municipalities in Tennessee are using outdoor LED lighting to curb energy consumption and save on utility bills. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently reported that these cities may also be switching to LEDs to increase the safety of public spaces. According to a 2016 study by the University of Granada, pedestrians felt safer in areas lit by bright white lights such as LEDs, as opposed to less efficient high-pressure sodium lights commonly used for streetlamps. LEDs can also enhance motorist visibility along busy roads and highways, reducing collisions and improving nighttime traffic safety. Finally, outdoor LED systems can be used in combination with smart lighting technology, which can equip the lights with sensors and other features. ACEEE reports that city officials in Chattanooga were able to reclaim Coolidge Park, an area prone to gang violence and gunfire, by installing remote-controlled LED lights that could be brightened, dimmed, or flashed on demand. When flashing, the lights caused gangs to disperse, resulting in reduced violence in the park.
TVA Votes to Close Two Coal Plants by 2023
TVA recently voted to retire two aging coal-fired power plants that, in recent years, only run about 10% of the time, and have become uneconomical due to an inability to adjust their power output as demand fluctuates. TVA’s analysis indicates that continued operation of these units would impose significant costs on its customers, informing the decision to close the plants. The Paradise plant in Kentucky will close by the end of 2020, and the Bull Run plant in Tennessee will close in 2023. TVA states that closure of these plants will not affect electric grid reliability and has confirmed that no new power plants will be built to replace them.
Two Energy Education Opportunities for TN Students and Teachers
1) ARC/ORNL Summer Science Academy Accepting Student Applications
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to host the 2019 Summer STEM Program, a hands-on learning experience for high school and middle school students, as well as for high school teachers in STEM-related fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Many participants come from economically distressed counties and often gain their first exposure to applied science and STEM education through this experience. Participants receive an all-expenses-paid learning residence at ORNL. Selected students will participate in group science, math, and computer technology research projects and selected teachers will work with science practitioners to develop STEM-related curriculum. All Tennessee applications must be submitted in a fillable PDF format, not printed and scanned, and emailed to and by March 12. Click here to learn more.
2) OEP Accepting Applications for K-12 Energy Education Camps and Workshops Across TN
TDEC OEP plans to conduct three Energy Education Camps for K-12 Educators in 2019. The Camps are comprised of three-day training sessions and provide energy-related lesson plans and resources designed for use in the K-12 classroom. These lessons promote energy literacy as it relates to STEM subjects and introduce educators to topics including, but not limited to, electricity generation, consumption, and measurement; renewable energy; and energy efficiency and conservation. 2019 Camps will be hosted at the following dates/locations:
  • June 18-20: Cumberland Mountain State Park
  • June 25-27: Roan Mountain State Park
  • July 17-19: Natchez Trace State Park
Energy Education Camps are offered free of charge. All participating educators will receive $200 in materials to teach energy education topics in the classroom or at afterschool programs. Educators will also receive a certificate of participation for professional development hours. Click here to access the 2019 Energy Education Camps application. Applications are due by April 5. For questions about the Camps program or OEP’s other K-12 Energy Education activities, please contact Angela McGee at or 615-532-7816.
REAP to Fund Rural Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Projects
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. This program helps improve American energy independence by both increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers. Funding for Fiscal Year 2019 is available in a variety of forms, each under its own application process and timeline:
  • Grants and/or Loans of $20,000 or less: Applications are due April 1.
  • Unrestricted Grants and/or Loans: Applications are due April 1.
  • Guaranteed Loan: Applications are accepted on a continuous cycle.
Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as biomass (biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels); geothermal for electric generation or direct use; hydropower below 30 MW; hydrogen; small and large wind generation; small and large solar generation; and ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation. Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC); insulation; lighting; cooling or refrigeration units; doors and windows; electric, solar, or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots; switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor; and replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.
Click here to learn more and to apply for REAP financial assistance. Click here to find the REAP point of contact for your Tennessee region.
ITEAM Prize Rewards Innovators in Manufacturing Energy Efficiency
U.S. DOE recently announced its Individuals Taking Energy Action in Manufacturing (ITEAM) Prize, a competition to identify and celebrate individual employees whose ideas and practices led to significant, measurable energy savings in U.S. manufacturing facilities. Up to five winners in each category of small, medium, and large manufacturers will be selected to receive a cash prize of $5,000. In addition to the cash prize, the winners will be recognized at the annual Better Buildings Summit and will have their winning ideas and practices highlighted on the Better Buildings Solutions Center website. Applications must be submitted by May 15 at 11:59 PM ET. Self-nominations are welcome. For questions about the prize competition, contact Click here to apply.
Webinar: Designing Behavior Change Programs for Encouraging Energy Efficiency
The Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference (BECC) and the Social Marketing Association of North America (SMANA) will collaboratively host an upcoming webinar on leveraging social marketing to promote smarter energy use. Dr. Reuven Sussman, co-chair of the BECC and Senior Manager of the Behavior and Human Dimensions Program at ACEEE, will describe several theories of behavior change along with a systematic approach for designing, implementing, and evaluating energy efficiency programing. This webinar will be broadcast live from a BECC/SMAMA event that will be held in Washington, DC. Attendees (in person and online) will have an opportunity to ask questions following the presentation. The webinar will take place Wednesday, March 6 at 5:15 – 6:15 PM CST. Click here to register.
FEMP to Offer New ESPC ESA Webinar Series
The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) is launching a four-part webinar series entitled, “Energy Savings Performance Contract Energy Sales Agreements (ESPC ESAs): A New Way of Financing On-Site Renewable Energy.” Starting in March 2019, a live webinar will occur quarterly to address various topics on financing and implementation of on-site renewable energy projects. Each webinar will include project implementation best practices, resources, and Q&A opportunities. The webinar topics and dates can be found below:
  • Overview and Requirements – Tuesday, March 12, 2019 from 2:00–3:30 PM EST (register here)
  • Photovoltaic Project Considerations – April or May 2019
  • Site-Specific Stand-Alone Project Overview – July 2019
  • ENABLE with an ESA - October 2019
Register for ACEEE's 2019 Hot Water Forum in Nashville
Registration is now open for the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE’s) 2019 Hot Water Forum, to be held March 11-13 in Nashville. Attendees will network with their peers and gain insight from experts on the latest technologies and techniques for making, distributing, and using hot water. In addition to improving water heating efficiency, these new tools can help stakeholders respond to the evolving energy landscape, which includes smart connected equipment, renewable energy, and carbon reduction. Other event highlights include:
  • A pre-conference tour of the A.O. Smith world class manufacturing facility in Ashland City;
  • A special reception to meet and network with local plumbers and installers;
  • Breakout sessions on cutting-edge water heating technologies, safe and efficient plumbing design, innovative utility programs, and strategic carbon reduction strategies; and
  • A plenary panel discussion on water heating successes and challenges in the South.
Suggested attendees include equipment and component manufacturers; water, gas, and electric utilities; local, State, and federal agency personnel; energy efficiency program planners, operators, and evaluators; plumbers and installers; policymakers; non-government organizations; consultants; and more. Visit the Hot Water Forum webpage to learn more about the upcoming event.
2019 Tennessee Environmental Conference
The Tennessee Environmental Conference, now in its eighteenth year, will feature more than 40 presenters addressing the latest trends, practices, and policies aimed at preserving the state’s natural resources, balancing growth, improving human health, and protecting the environment. This year, the Central Appalachian Brownfield Innovation Network (CABIN) is partnering with the conference to provide a special brownfields development track. The conference will be hosted at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport, TN from March 18-20. Click here to register.
Energy Efficiency Over Time: Measuring and Valuing Lifetime Energy Savings in Policy and Planning 
Most policies for evaluating the practicality and benefits of energy efficiency projects are designed around the first year of savings, despite the fact that many energy efficiency projects can yield energy and cost savings for a lifetime. To address this discrepancy, ACEEE recently released a report titled “Energy Efficiency Over Time: Measuring and Valuing Lifetime Energy Savings in Policy and Planning.” The report describes policy changes that measure the value of energy savings over time, particularly with ways to improve measures of lifetime estimates to make them more useful for cost-effectiveness testing, energy efficiency resource standards, performance incentives, and resource planning. The report concludes with energy savings measurement policy recommendations for both program administrators and decision makers.
Report: Demystifying Corporate Renewable Energy Claims
Today, many companies are using a number of strategies to set and fulfill renewable energy goals, each with differing effects on the energy environment. But what specifically does a company mean when it sets a goal? And what does it mean when a company reports progress? The Environmental Law Institute recently released a report that demystifies the voluntary world of corporate renewable energy claims. The report, “Corporate Statements About the Use of Renewable Energy: What Does the “100% Renewable” Goal Really Mean?,” suggests that an achievable goal that stimulates real investment in renewable energy and the displacement of fossil fuel demand may be far more important and effective than a goal that reflects only a company’s available cash and the purchase of renewable energy certificates.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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