Energy Awareness Month
Energy Awareness Month is a celebratory time during which the U.S. federal government leads by example in energy management and building optimization, energy resilience and security, and the use of advanced and distributed energy technologies. The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) helps agencies meet federal energy efficiency and renewable energy laws and requirements, and agencies are making progress toward these requirements by implementing energy- and water-management projects throughout the federal government.

During Energy Awareness Month and throughout the year, FEMP recommends a step-by-step approach and dedicated resources to raise awareness of energy- and water-saving possibilities. This approach includes making a dedicated energy plan, thorough energy design and implementation, evaluation of efficiency results, and a focused effort to sustain energy responsibility actions into the future. FEMP offers resources, including a facility energy checklist, office energy checklist, and home energy checklist, each of which outlines actions that can be taken to support energy conservation.
EPB, TVA, Chattanooga to Invest Another $1.2 Million in Home Uplift Program
Building on the successful completion of the 400th Home Uplift energy renovation earlier this year, local power company EPB, the City of Chattanooga, and TVA have announced the investment of another $1.2 million into the program that provides assistance in reducing energy burden for low-income households. EPB and the City have committed a combined $600,000 toward the investment—a total which is matched by TVA—with a goal of completing more than 200 home energy upgrades over the next year. Additionally, the program will now allow renters to seek assistance with consent from their landlord.

After successful pilots in Chattanooga and other communities, TVA has invested nearly $15.4 million to replicate the Home Uplift program in partnership with other local power companies across the Tennessee Valley, resulting in an average of 30% energy savings annually per home. In Chattanooga, program participants have seen on average a reduction of $400 in energy costs each year. To learn more about Home Uplift, see EPB’s site here or TVA’s site here.
Solar Alliance Signs Contract for 526-kW Solar Project in Tennessee
Tennessee-based solar provider Solar Alliance Energy Inc. has signed a contract for a 526-kW solar system in the state. The company will design, engineer, and install the project, which is scheduled to begin construction in October and is targeted for completion by the end of 2021. The array will be one of Solar Alliance’s largest projects and represents the company’s heightened focus on adding solar capacity to the Tennessee Valley.
Advanced Energy 101 for Local Power Companies
In 2020, TVA began allowing local power companies the flexibility to generate up to 5% of their average electricity needs from distributed resources. This equates to about 800 MW of new distributed generation, or about 2,000 MW if all the generation is solar power. The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) and Tennessee-based solar company Silicon Ranch will host a webinar on November 2 at 12:00 PM Central that will showcase a case study of one Tennessee local power company, the Paris Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in Henry County, that has taken advantage of this new flexibility option. Participants will hear about best practices and lessons learned from the “flexibility project” and receive insights from representatives from Paris BPU, TAEBC, Silicon Ranch, and TVA. Click here to register. 
Cybersecurity Summit: Securing Our Solar Future Today
U.S. DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) will hold a half-day virtual event on November 3 from 12:00 PM-4:30 PM Eastern to discuss clean energy cyber and supply chain security. As solar and storage play an increasingly important role in ensuring U.S. energy independence, cybersecurity has become a priority for the industry. SEIA, SETO, and Idaho National Labs are working alongside their members to address lessons learned from cyber-attacks, best practices, and ongoing trends that are critical to making solar and storage the most secure fuel on the grid.
The event will cover several topics, including:
  • Legislative and regulatory status of key federal and state cybersecurity activities for the latest cyber and security threats;
  • Considerations surrounding both mandatory and enforceable voluntary standards that may apply to solar and storage developers; and
  • Cyber and supply chain guidance to develop a leading practice program.
Click here to register.
2021-2022 Better Buildings Webinar Series
U.S. DOE Better Buildings has announced its 2021-2022 Webinar Series, which will run through April 2022. 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 first webinar in the series, titled “Reimagining Carbon Costs: Finance Your Way to a Low-Carbon Future,” will take place on November 9 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern and will address how leading organizations are increasingly using financing mechanisms to achieve their carbon reduction targets.
The following webinar, titled “Cleaner, Better, Faster, Stronger: Industrial Adoption of Renewables,” will take place on November 16 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern and will navigate the renewable energy market by providing background on renewable technologies and their benefits as well as a wide range of purchasing options that can benefit U.S. industrial organizations.
Click here for the full webinar schedule.
Graduate Education for Minority Students Fellowship Program
U.S. DOE’s Building Technologies Office has announced the 2022 Graduate Education for Minority Students Fellowship (GEM) Program. The GEM Program recruits high-quality, underrepresented students pursuing graduate degrees in applied science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The fellowship was designed to focus on promoting opportunities for individuals to enter industry at the graduate level in areas such as research and development, product development, and other high level technical careers.
GEM Fellows studying building technologies will support advancements in emerging technologies, including building energy modeling, solid-state lighting, cyber-security, and grid-interactive efficient buildings. Building research also focuses on residential and commercial buildings integration programs, such as Building America, the Better Buildings Challenge, High Impact Technology, and Building Energy Data. Students pursuing graduate degrees who are interested in becoming a GEM Fellow should follow the application process and apply for funding by November 13. Visit the GEM website at for additional details.
U.S. DOE Announces New Communities LEAP Opportunity
On September 15, U.S. DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm introduced the Communities Local Energy Action Program (LEAP), a new pilot to facilitate sustained, community-wide economic and environmental benefits. This opportunity is specifically open to low-income, energy-burdened communities that are also experiencing either direct environmental justice impacts or economic impacts caused by a shift away from historical reliance on fossil fuels. Under the Communities LEAP Pilot, U.S. DOE will provide supportive services valued at up to $16M for community-driven clean energy transitions.
This initiative is designed to provide communities a single application to access technical assistance from many different U.S. DOE programs. Communities can identify multiple pathways of interest for clean energy-related economic development, including Renewable Energy Planning and Development, Energy Efficient Buildings and Beneficial Electrification Planning and Investment, Clean Transportation Planning and Investment, Carbon Capture and Storage, Energy Site Reclamation and Critical Minerals Processing, Community Resilience Microgrids, and New or Enhanced Manufacturing. Once the communities have been selected for technical assistance, U.S. DOE will match the communities with appropriate technical assistance providers and provide funding to the technical assistance providers to work with the selected communities.
Details on technical assistance (what it is, how to access support, etc.) can be found in the Opportunity Announcement (page 2 and Appendix A). More information on Communities LEAP can be found here: Communities LEAP applications are due December 17.
American-Made Challenges Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize
Through the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize, U.S. DOE aims to fund organizations for ongoing and/or proposed activities related to climate and clean energy that build trust, support relationships, and strengthen and partnerships with disadvantaged communities. Specifically, this prize seeks to enable business and technology incubation, acceleration, and other community- and university-based entrepreneurship and innovation in climate and clean energy technologies.
Through this prize, a total prize pool of up to $2.5 million across two phases will be shared by organizations that:
  • Are community-centric and have experience in successfully engaging with disadvantaged communities;
  • Promote environmental, climate, and energy justice;
  • Demonstrate strong community ties;
  • Can use their experience to serve as bridges between U.S. DOE and disadvantaged communities; and
  • Support clean energy grassroots innovation related to technology advancement in climate and clean energy with a focused impact on disadvantaged communities.
Applications for this prize are due on February 25 at 5:00 PM Eastern. Click here to access the prize rules. Click here to apply.
Report: Achieving 100% Clean Electricity in the Southeast
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) released a report titled “Achieving 100% Clean Electricity in the Southeast: Enacting a Federal Clean Electricity Standard,” which lays out multiple pathways for some of the largest utility systems in the nation to achieve 100% clean electricity. As SACE’s earlier “Tracking Decarbonization in the Southeast” report notes, large Southeastern utilities are not on track to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This report examines the role a federal Clean Electricity Standard can play in ensuring these utilities can reach net-zero carbon emissions sooner. It presents pathways that represent an aggressive build-out of clean electricity sources such as distributed solar, energy efficiency, demand response, and wind, with each pathway meeting high-level tests to ensure it would provide adequate power throughout the year based on actual hourly peak data.
In Tennessee, TVA CEO Jeff Lyash recently made claims that the utility is ready to progress toward a clean electricity future. Through technological innovation and collaboration with partners throughout the Tennessee Valley, TVA aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% before 2035. TVA currently gets 13% of its power from coal and plans to retire each of its coal-fired plants by 2035 while adding approximately 10,000 MW of solar capacity to the grid. Nuclear power, which makes up 42% of TVA’s generation, will continue to be an important part of TVA’s model alongside an increased reliance on natural gas to help meet increasing demand. TVA also plans to invest in research and development of carbon-capture technology for natural gas, a cleaner-burning fuel than coal but still a significant source of emissions.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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