TDEC Releases Low-Income Energy Efficiency Funding Matrix
TDEC OEP recently updated the Low-Income Energy Efficiency Matrix for Tennessee. This resource is intended to connect low-income homeowners, affordable housing owners and operators, and technical assistance providers with information on existing energy efficiency programming that can help fund or finance energy improvements (e.g., lighting upgrades; weatherization; insulation; window replacement; HVAC and other essential building upgrades; etc.) for residential, multifamily, and commercial audiences. A PDF of this resource is now available on TDEC OEP’s Energy Resources website under the Energy Efficiency tab. To request a copy of the matrix in Excel format, please email
Chattanooga's Fiber Optic Smart City Network Brings $2.7 Billion in Economic Value
A new study conducted by the Rollins College of Business at UT-Chattanooga has found that the City of Chattanooga’s fiber optic infrastructure has led to approximately $2.7 billion in community benefits over its first decade of operation. In 2011, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB) completed construction of the fiber-optic communications network, initially providingup to a one-gigabyte fiber connectivity, serving 80,000 households and businesses in EPB’s 600 square mile service area, and earning Chattanooga the nickname “Gig-City.” That service has now matured to a 10-gigabyte fiber connection, indicating the continued development of the network by EPB.
The City and its partners (Hamilton County, Chattanooga Area Regional Transit Authority, EPB, and UT-Chattanooga) have worked over the years to enhance the impact and reap the benefits from this smart city infrastructure. The group formed the Chattanooga Smart City Collaborative in 2018 to address innovative problem-solving for health, transportation, and energy systems across the city by leveraging both EPB’s communications network and other academic and public investments in the field. The new UT-Chattanooga study shows that the Collaborative’s work has saved or created 9,516 jobs in Hamilton County and that the smart city project’s value has exceeded its costs by over $2.2 billion. The report also speculates that the benefits of the smart city infrastructure could be even greater, given the difficulty of quantifying local impacts on telehealth, education, and civic services. Quantifiable community benefits have come in the form of lower unemployment rates (Hamilton County’s rate of 4.7% is lower than both the state and national rates); access to internet for limited-income families; reduced power outages; and decreased carbon emissions through demand management practices. Click here to see the full study.
Nominations Open for 2021 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards
TDEC is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the 2021 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards, which honor outstanding accomplishments that support the protection and enhancement of Tennessee’s natural resources. Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2021 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; Agriculture and Forestry; Natural Resources; Water Quality; 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 2020 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 1, and winners will be announced in May. Contact Kathy Glapa at (615) 253-8780 or with any questions.
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. 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 “Smart Tools for Smart Labs,” will take place on March 2 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern and will share available tools and case studies for turning a laboratory into a Smart Lab. Attendees will also learn what the future holds in laboratory efficiency.
The following webinar, titled “Leveling the Slope: Helping State and Local Governments Reach Their Energy Goals,” will take place on March 16 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern. This webinar will introduce U.S. DOE’s State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE) Platform, a tool that integrates dozens of distinct sources of energy efficiency data into one easily accessible location to help state and local governments enact data-driven energy planning.
Click here for the full webinar schedule and to view recordings of previous webinars.
Upcoming Advanced Energy Webinars
The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) will hold its 2021 Annual Meeting in a virtual format on March 25 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Eastern. Sponsored by Seven States Power Corporation, this event is free to TAEBC members, government, and elected officials. Vanessa Z. Chan, Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of the U.S. DOE Office of Technology Transitions, will provide a keynote speech on advanced energy opportunities and trends. Click here to register for the Annual Meeting.
TAEBC will host also host a series of regional business roundtables later this year, to guide communication and outreach efforts tied to advanced energy; connect businesses with higher education and technical campuses to discuss evolving needs; gather information regarding workforce challenges; and collect feedback on existing and desired energy incentives. Each of these webinars is designed to cultivate an advanced energy economy that attracts and retains investment from innovative businesses. The virtual events are set to take place on the following dates:
  • West Tennessee – April 13 at 10:00 AM Central (register here)
  • Middle Tennessee – June 9 at 10:00 AM Central (registration available soon)
  • East Tennessee – October 13 at 10:00 AM Central (registration available soon)
ARPA-E 2021 Accepting Applications for Clean Energy Technologies Research
U.S. DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) has released a $100 million open Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to identify and fund high-potential projects that address a full range of energy-related technologies. The 2021 FOA seeks to support the Biden Administration’s climate innovation agenda by funding transformative clean energy technology research and development through various technical categories of interest, including: grid improvements; transportation; building efficiency; fossil and nuclear power generation/energy production; renewable power generation; bioenergy; advanced manufacturing; thermal energy storage; industrial efficiency; and more.
Individual awards will range from $250,000 to $10 million for performance periods of no more than 36 months. Eligible applicants include U.S. universities, national laboratories, industry, and individuals. Concept papers are due April 6, and the deadline for full applications will be determined at a later date. Click here to view the full FOA. Click here to apply.
Sustainable Energy in America 2021 Factbook
The Business Council for Sustainable Energy has released its Sustainable Energy in America 2021 Factbook, which provides year-over-year data and insights on American energy transformation and progress within the energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy sectors. This year’s report features a special focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the energy landscape in 2020. The report finds that, despite significant challenges, clean energy growth proved resilient in 2020. In fact, some clean energy trends even accelerated in growth throughout the year:
  • The U.S. installed 33.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity in 2020—a 61% increase over capacity growth in 2019—to mark the highest year for growth on record.
  • Wind enjoyed its best year ever with 17.1 GW constructed, while solar exceeded its previous record with 16.5 GW completed.
  • Hydropower generation rose by 5% in 2020, now accounting for 35% of total renewable energy output.
Click here to access the full report.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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