Metro Nashville, KUB Announce Large Scale Solar Projects Through TVA Green Invest Program
Nashville Mayor Cooper recently announced a partnership with Nashville Electric Service (NES), TVA, and Vanderbilt University to construct 125 MW of utility-scale solar power under TVA’s Green Invest program, positioning Metro General Government operations more than one-third of the way toward a goal to source 100% renewable energy by 2025. Metro Nashville will receive 100 MW of generation from the array, with Vanderbilt receiving the remaining 25 MW. This will allow the university to achieve their own 100% renewable energy goal for campus operations. TVA will contract with Nashville-based Silicon Ranch Corporation to build the array in Tullahoma. The announcement comes after Metro Nashville adopted a resolution earlier this year to approve the Green Invest agreement; Metro Nashville will be the first local government to pursue access to Green Invest within TVA’s service territory. For Vanderbilt, this is the second such project to be announced, after the university revealed a partnership with NES earlier this year to procure renewable energy from a 35 MW array in Bedford County.
Additionally, Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) announced that by the end of 2023, solar power will supply 20% of KUB’s electric load. To do this, the local power company is adding 290 MW of solar capacity to its earlier Green Invest agreement of 212 MW—altogether representing more than 500 MW of new solar power to be added to KUB’s power supply. These plans represent the second-largest commitment to new solar construction of any organization under TVA’s Green Invest program and will supply KUB with enough solar power to serve 83,000 average homes within the local power company’s territory. This investment also helps the City of Knoxville pursue its goal of an 80% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2050, relative to 2005.
TVA, Origis Energy to Power Google Data Centers With 100% Renewable Energy
TVA announced that a new 100 MW solar array constructed in Obion County will provide renewable energy to Google’s data centers in Clarksville as well as in Hollywood, AL. Through TVA’s Green Invest program, Origis Energy will own and operate the plant, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2022. Earlier this year, Google had entered into a separate Green Invest agreement to purchase 266 MW of solar power capacity generated by arrays linked to TVA’s electric grid, an arrangement that follows similar deals with other companies operating in Tennessee such as General Motors and Facebook. See TVA’s official press release to learn more.
Tennessee Entities Receive Funding to Advance Solar Energy Technologies
U.S. DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) recently announced a list of projects to receive a total of $130 million to advance early-stage solar technologies that reduce the cost of solar, increase U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing, improve grid reliability, and tackle emerging challenges in the solar industry. Among the SETO 2020 funding program recipients are several Tennessee-based entities:
  • The Electric Power Research Institute’s Knoxville facility will receive $3.9 million for its Solar Energy Community Resiliency (SECURE) project to address key technical and business challenges impeding implementation of resilient community microgrids.
  • ORNL will receive $3.8 million to work on the development and evaluation of a microgrid controller that coordinates the operation of a network of microgrids with high solar penetration.
  • Silicon Ranch Corporation, based in Nashville, will receive $1.8 million to test a novel design for a solar panel tracker and control system to accommodate pasture-based cattle grazing under solar panels.
  • Vanderbilt University will receive $300,000 to develop advanced diagnostic and metrology techniques to help develop advanced heat exchanger designs for Generation 3 concentrating solar power systems.

Click here to learn more about all selected projects under this funding announcement.

US. 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 funding opportunity announcement (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.
Better Buildings Financing Navigator
The Better Buildings Financing Navigator is a tool offered by U.S. DOE Better Buildings to help building owners, managers, and occupants secure financial support for energy improvement projects. This resource allows interested individuals and organizations to find customized financing; explore financing options ranging from traditional loans and leases to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), Efficiency-as-a-Service, and Energy Savings Performance Contracting; and connect with financial allies that commit to funding energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
Additionally, the Financing Navigator features a collection of resources such as energy financing primers for the commercial, healthcare, multifamily, public, and higher education sectors as well as financing option fact sheets, high-level market overviews and guides, and information on financing policies and programs.
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 “Scaling Impact: Multi-Building Approaches to Zero Energy Ready,” will take place on December 1 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern and will explore best practices on achieving cost savings and carbon reductions at scale. Speakers will highlight projects that are integrating energy efficiency, waste heat, renewable energy, and grid interaction across multiple buildings.
The following webinar, titled “Save Energy and Money with the Building Envelope Campaign,” will take place on December 8 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern and will discuss U.S. DOE’s Building Envelope Campaign and how building owners can participate to save energy and money.
Click here for the full webinar schedule.
2020 Energy Efficiency & Climate Policy Forum
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy is holding its 2020 Energy Efficiency & Climate Policy Forum as a one-day virtual event on December 3. This forum brings together a diverse group of stakeholders—including federal officials, policymakers, energy service companies, energy efficiency product manufacturers, policy advocates, and energy efficiency programmers—to explore key steps and policies that will help the U.S. halve its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The forum will feature four panel sessions on:
  • Buildings - improvements to existing buildings and opportunities for electrification;
  • Industry - industrial carbonization strategies;
  • Transportation - advanced vehicles and systems; and
  • Cross-cutting - state-led planning, clean energy standards, and carbon pricing.
Click here to view the full event program. Click here to register.
2020 Conference on Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change: Virtual
This year’s Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change (BECC) conference will take place in a virtual format from December 7-10. The conference brings together social scientists, practitioners, utilities, academics, governments, businesses, and nonprofits to share and disseminate best practices and research to encourage behavior change for energy efficiency and carbon reduction. BECC will feature keynote addresses, plenary panels, and facilitated group discussions on a variety of topics related to behavior change and how it can reshape the energy landscape and our environment. Click here to view the full agenda. Click here to register.
TAEBC Opportunities in Energy 2020
The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) will hold its Opportunities in Energy 2020 event in a virtual format on December 8 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM Eastern. The event will feature a presentation from Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe on how to make Tennessee a destination for the electric vehicle supply chain. TAEBC representatives will also preview findings from the most recent Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report. Additional confirmed speakers include:
  • John Hopkins, CEO, IACMI
  • Mike Swords, Transportation Electrification Partnership/LA Cleantech Incubator
  • Tom Rogers, President and CEO, University of Tennessee (UT) Research Park at Cherokee Farm
  • Matt Murray, Director, UT Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy
  • Amy Henry, Director, Transformative Innovation, TVA
  • Marc Gibson, Associate Vice Chancellor of Research, UT-Knoxville
Click here to register for the event.
2020 TREEDC Renewable Energy Summit
The Tennessee Renewable Energy & Economic Development Council (TREEDC) will hold its annual Renewable Energy Summit on December 11 from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM Central at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. This conference will feature mayoral panels on best practices for economic development, energy efficiency, and innovation in renewable energy during the COVID-19 outbreak. Attendees will hear from local government leaders on the future of renewable energy and from TREEDC members on COVID-19 assistance programs. The conference will include a reception the evening prior to the main event, as well as a ceremony for TREEDC 2020 Champion Award winners. Click here to view the full agenda. Click here to register.
Report: Clean Jobs, Better Jobs
To understand the quality of employment opportunities in clean energy-related industries, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) commissioned a new report to analyze wages and benefits of occupations in clean energy industries as compared to all occupations nationwide, sectors heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and other energy-related occupation data.

The report analyzes clean energy wages, benefits, and unionization rates across five clean energy sectors (renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, clean fuels, clean vehicles, and grid modernization and storage) and includes detailed demographic data for 15 specific clean energy occupations. The report also includes state-specific wage findings for all 50 states and the District of Columbia (Tennessee ranked ninth among the top states by clean energy wage percentage above statewide median range, at 15.2%). Click here to view the full report.

Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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