UT-Knoxville Receives Funding to Recycle Wind Turbine Blades
UT-Knoxville recently received $1.1 million from U.S. DOE to develop new technology and processes for the large-scale recycling of wind turbine blades into new composites. UT’s project recovers the glass fiber from the blades while limiting mechanical degradation of the fiber during the reclamation process. In turn, this allows the recycled fiber to be reused in new composite applications such as vehicle light-weighting, other renewable energy systems components, and performance sports equipment.
UT has partnered with Knoxville-based Carbon Rivers LLC to further develop and commercialize this glass fiber recovery technology for the purpose of handling retired wind turbine blades. Over the next two years, the team will collaborate with GE Renewable Energy, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s MidAmerican Energy Company, and PacifiCorp utilities to develop a pilot scale glass fiber composite recycling system that will serve as the basis for eventual deployment of a full-scale commercial wind blade waste processing plant. Click here to learn more about this project.
TVA to Install its First Grid-Scale Battery Energy Storage System
TVA recently announced that it is installing its first TVA-owned and operated grid-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) near an industrial complex in Vonore, about 35 miles southwest of Knoxville. Known as the Vonore BESS, the project will use lithium-ion batteries to store 40 MWh of energy, which is enough to power over 10,600 homes for three hours. The facility, which will become operational in 2022, will provide power to local industrial customers served by Loudoun Utilities Board (LUD) and aims to improve the quality of electrical service provided to local manufacturing facilities without the construction of additional transmission lines. The BESS will allow energy to be stored when demand and prices are low, for use when demand is higher, thus reducing electricity costs for LUD and local industry. In addition to the Vonore BESS, TVA has also announced a solar project in Lowndes County, MS under its Green Invest program, which will include 200 MWh of onsite battery storage. Both projects coincide with the goals outlined within the 2019 TVA Integrated Resource Plan, which calls for an increase to energy storage capacity by up to 5 GW by 2038.
Chattanooga State Community College Receives Funding for Advanced Manufacturing Building
Funding for a new $21.7 million advanced manufacturing building for the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Chattanooga State Community College (TCAT Chattanooga) was recently approved by the Tennessee General Assembly. Construction of the 40,000 square foot facility is set to be completed in 2023, allowing TCAT Chattanooga to expand its existing curriculum and launch new, comprehensive advanced manufacturing programs that will bolster workforce development for this sector in Tennessee. Currently, students may enroll in advanced manufacturing programs at other TCAT campuses located in Pulaski, Nashville, Elizabethton, Hartsville, and Livingston. 
Energy Efficiency Day 2020
Each year, organizations and citizens across the country endorse energy efficiency’s benefits and participate in online energy efficiency challenges and promotions in celebration of Energy Efficiency Day (EE Day). Cities, counties, and states have issued official proclamations to recognize EE Day, along with the U.S. Senate. EE Day 2020 (#EEDay2020) will return on October 7 for its fifth annual event, and organizers have updated the EE Day website with new energy efficiency campaigns and materials.

EE Day organizers have released a list of energy efficiency tips aimed at reducing a household’s monthly utility bill. Activities include basic home maintenance (e.g., changing old incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR LED bulbs); small adjustments to habits (e.g., turning off unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronics when not in use); or investment in energy efficient technologies (e.g., installing a programmable or smart thermostat that will run the air conditioner only when people are home). Click here to check out the full list of tips.

Additionally, EE Day organizers will hold a virtual roundtable on October 7 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Central titled “Energy Efficiency in the Time of COVID-19: How it Supports Recovery.” During this session, experts and policy leaders will highlight the benefits of energy efficiency, including how the EE sector can help put people back to work, drive economic recovery, reduce pollution, and alleviate the energy burdens of those most affected by the COVID-19 recession. Click here to register.

Applications Open for Cohort 5 of Innovation Crossroads Program
Innovation Crossroads, an ORNL program that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with experts and mentors in technology-related fields, has recently released the application for its fifth cohort (Cohort 5). Throughout the program, selected innovators will receive assistance in designing business strategies, completing market research and discovery, establishing commercial partnerships, and achieving long term startup financing. Selected innovators for this Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program will receive a two-year fellowship, which includes a living stipend of up to $90,000 per year; access to ORNL facilities, equipment, and expertise; and $200,000 in R&D funding to support collaboration opportunities with researchers across the lab. Technology areas of interest include advanced materials, clean energy, grid modernization, national security, neutron science, nuclear science, and supercomputing. Eligible applicants include U.S. citizens and lawful permanent U.S. residents that hold a PhD or have equivalent experience.
ORNL will hold a series of webinars to provide information on the program and how to apply:
  • October 6 at 1:00 PM Eastern
  • October 22 at 3:00 PM Eastern
To register for a webinar, click here. Full applications must be submitted by October 31. Click here for full details on required application materials. To submit an application, go to the application portal.
U.S. DOE Announces Funding for Innovative Building Technologies and Practices
U.S. DOE recently issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the 2020 Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) program, to provide $80 million in funding for projects that enhance energy demand flexibility across buildings and the grid, enabling greater affordability, increased energy productivity, and improved occupant comfort. The BENEFIT FOA highlights several topics of interest, including thermal storage research; advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services that can provide demand flexibility services to the grid; next generation refrigeration technologies; advanced appliance research in areas such as improved compressor design; next generation lighting; whole building load optimization; advanced, efficient building construction; improved building retrofit technologies; and workforce development. Projects under this FOA will be divided into two broader Topic Areas:
  • Topic 1: Building Technology Research, Development, and Field Validation
  • Topic 2: Advanced Building Construction
U.S. DOE anticipates awarding projects up to between $750,000 to $3 million, for periods of up to 36 months. Concept papers are due November 5; the deadline for full applications is January 20, 2021Click here to view the full FOA.
ORNL to Collaborate on Energy Efficient Building Technologies
ORNL has issued a Notice of Opportunity (NOO) that provides small businesses and other industry partners with more affordable access to ORNL’s Building Technologies Research and Integration Center (BTRIC), where they can undertake collaborative, short-term research projects that accelerate the development of new energy-efficient building technologies. The opportunity gives selected participants access to ORNL’s experienced staff, equipment, and research capabilities when developing new products and research within the building energy market.
Under this NOO, ORNL has reduced the required cost share of BTRIC projects from 50% to 20% for 2020, accommodating businesses who may struggle to participate in such a program under present adverse economic conditions. Proposed projects should contribute to U.S. DOE’s goal of a 30% reduction in U.S. building energy intensity by 2030, relative to a 2010 baseline. As part of the technology collaborations conducted under this announcement, applicants must describe the potential energy savings and novel, non-energy impacts that may be realized by the targeted project.
Technology areas of interest include HVAC, water heating, and appliances; windows and building envelope; solid-state lighting; building energy modeling; sensors and controls; grid-interactive efficient buildings; residential building integration; and commercial building integration. Click here to view the full NOO. More information about the ORNL BTRIC can be found at
Innovation in the Electric Power System: Startups Wanted
Representatives from TVA and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will host a webinar on October 1 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM Eastern called, “Innovation in the Electric Power System: Startups Wanted.” Presenters will highlight how innovation is taking place through the Incubatenergy Network and Incubatenergy Labs programs, which are designed to bring startups and utilities together to collaboratively address energy system research and development via paid, accelerated demonstration projects. Attendees will hear pitches from three startups from the Incubatenergy Labs 2020 Cohort as well as learn how to engage with Incubatenergy Labs in the future. Other speakers include executives from TVA and EPRI as well as the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce CEO, Mike Odom. Click here to register.
NASEO Annual Meeting
The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will hold its 2020 Annual Meeting from October 6-8 in an interactive, virtual format. The Annual Meeting will include discussions on the ways state clean energy actions power sustainable and high-impact economic growth. Featured presentations include:
  • Lessons of Federal Stimulus Past, Present, and Future
  • Capturing Billions in Federal Energy Research and Demonstration Funding for Your State from Federal Agencies
  • Planning for Great Results: How States are Attracting Resources to Pair Economic Development with Community Resilience, Transportation Transformation, and Electricity Optimization
  • COVID-19 Impacts on the American Economy
  • State of Play: Congressional Energy Policy, Appropriations, and Stimulus Actions
  • Return to Work: Hurdles, Lessons, and Opportunities Across the Buildings Sector
  • Unlocking Climate and Economic Benefits through STEM Education
  • Energy Systems Going Clean, Distributed, and Integrated
  • Harnessing Innovation to Meet Challenges
Representatives from state agencies, utilities, technology providers, nonprofit organizations, energy companies, industry groups, financial investment and service companies, trade associations, and more are encouraged to attend. Click here to register.
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 6, 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 “CPACE Financing Turns 10: Impacts, Challenges, and What Comes Next,” will take place on October 6 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern and will explore the impacts and success stores of commercial property assessed clean energy financing over the last 10 years.
The following webinar, titled “Wastewater Treatment 2.0: The Next Phase of Energy Efficiency and Recovery,” will take place on October 20 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern and will spotlight the latest efforts to help water resource recovery facilities achieve energy savings and implement advanced technologies, including DOE’s Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future Initiative.
Click here for the full webinar schedule.
2020 Tennessee Valley Solar Conference + Storage
The Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA) will host the Tennessee Valley Solar Conference + Storage in a virtual format on October 7 from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM Central. The purpose of the conference is to bring together solar and energy storage advocates and adopters to discuss strategies, market trends, and policies that impact the Tennessee Valley solar + storage industry. Speakers will include TVA staff and executives as well as leaders from Tennessee local power companies such as the Knoxville Utility Board, the Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Cooperation, and the Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative; speakers will discuss solar successes and how to take advantage of low-cost solar energy and storage. TenneSEIA partners and members may receive a conference registration discount.
Following the virtual conference, TenneSEIA will host a monthly series of hour-long webinars that will continue to explore solar + storage topics, including opportunities for public-private partnership, TVA’s new Green Connect residential renewable power program, and law and financing challenges and considerations in the Tennessee Valley. Visit to learn more. Click here to register.
RNG Works 2020 Education Package
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas cancelled its in-person RNG WORKS 2020 Technical Workshop and Trade Expo. In replacement of the conference, the Coalition has packaged presenter slide decks and exhibitor video commercials as a public education effort and industry marketing opportunity. These materials aim to assist the Coalition’s goals of educating, demonstrating, and promoting best RNG industry practices for purposes of realizing sustainable development, deployment, and utilization of RNG, as well as to help achieve greater energy independence and access to a domestic, renewable, clean fuel and energy supply. Click here to subscribe and receive the full 2020 RNG WORKS education package.
U.S. Energy Jobs Data Released to Aid Workforce Training and Economic Recovery
The Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), NASEO, and BW Research Partnership (BWRP) have published an online repository of key data sets detailing energy, energy efficiency, and motor vehicles employment characteristics by sector, subsector, and technology area at the national and state levels. This new resource includes data as reported to BWRP by survey respondents for the 2017-2020 editions of the U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER), as well as county-level data used for the 2017 report. The public release of these data sets—which cover petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency, motor vehicles, and other key technology areas—is critical to policymakers, academic researchers, and other practitioners seeking a deeper understanding of U.S. energy and energy-related jobs and strategies to support job creation, workforce development, and energy resilience.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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