Vanderbilt Announces Collaboration to Address Carbon Footprint
Vanderbilt University announced a new collaboration with the nonprofit Climate Vault to address its carbon footprint and achieve carbon neutrality. Climate Vault’s mission is to significantly reduce carbon pollution by partnering with institutions to purchase carbon pollutant permits from regulated markets and either permanently retire them or leverage them to provide grants for emerging carbon renewal technologies.

The university announced in 2019 its goal to power its campus entirely through renewable energy and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. While other initiatives are underway to meet this goal and push action and innovation, this partnership works as a near-term opportunity to use the cap-and-trade market to accelerate efforts and become the first member of the Association of American Universities to achieve total carbon neutrality. Click here to learn more.
New Washington County Solar Farm Breaks Ground
Local officials in Washington County recently broke ground on a 9 MW solar installation in Jonesborough, TN. The new Martin Solar Farm is the result of a collaboration between Nashville-based Silicon Ranch, TVA, and BrightRidge. Construction is set to be completed by the end of this year with the final array to generate nearly twice as much power as a similar Silicon Ranch operation in Telford, TN (Washington County’s other utility-scale solar array, which was finished in 2019). Under the terms of its 20-year contract with TVA, BrightRidge is allowed to buy 100% of the energy generated by the solar farms to sell to its customers.
TVA Seeks Proposals for New Utility-Scale Solar and Battery Storage Projects
TVA is accepting bids for utility-scale solar and battery storage development projects that can be completed by the end of 2024. The Request for Proposals supports TVA’s Green Invest program, which has secured large-scale solar power operations to meet the electricity needs of several Tennessee entities, including auto manufacturers, data centers, local power companies, cities, and universities. Since 2018, Green Invest has attracted nearly $2.7 billion in investments and procured about 2,100 MW of solar, advancing TVA’s path to 80% carbon reduction by 2035 with up to 10,000 MW of solar online. Proposals must be submitted by July 20. Click here to view the full RFP.
UT, ORNL, TVA, and TAEBC Partner to Bring Innovative Tech Accelerators to Tennessee
ORNL, TVA, and the University of Tennessee (UT) have announced a local Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator in partnership with Techstars, a worldwide network that advances the success of innovative entrepreneurs. The accelerator will work with 30 startups over three years to leverage clean energy, grid-scale energy storage, battery technology, cybersecurity, and other innovations to transform society. This will be the first Techstars-operated accelerator in Tennessee, the first affiliated with a national laboratory, and the first focused on “Industries of the Future.” The accelerator will create an environment where startups focused on these industries can thrive in the Oak Ridge-Knoxville area, refining their technologies, receiving mentorship, discovering and developing talent, and connecting to organizations to form partnerships and find potential customers. The program will begin accepting applications in July. Click here to learn more about Techstars and its global network.

In addition to the Techstars Accelerator, UT’s Spark Innovation Center recently announced that it will work with TVA and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) to develop and implement the Spark Cleantech Accelerator in Tennessee. Funded by an award from U.S. DOE’s “Energy Program for Innovation Clusters” (EPIC) Program, the accelerator will support energy hardware startups through a 10- to 13-week program each year that will include both in-person and virtual events, sector-specific curriculum, mentorships, prototyping resources, and connections with industry.
ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) will hold its 2021 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry in a virtual format from July 12-15. This event will bring together leaders in industry to discuss cutting-edge topics with the authors of more than four dozen energy efficiency industry research reports, addressing topics such as agile manufacturing, sustainable supply chains, low-carbon steel, low-carbon fuels, strategic energy management, corporate sustainability policies, vehicle electrification, onsite energy generation, and carbon capture and storage. The conference will also include a discussion on pollution, employment impacts of manufacturing on disadvantaged communities, and how decarbonization can help address such inequities. Click here to register.
Urban Runoff 5k
Nashville’s Metro Water Services, the City of Gallatin, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, TDEC, and the Tennessee Stormwater Association have teamed up to host the Urban Runoff 5k run on August 7 at 7:30 AM Central. The run is being held at Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Nature Center in East Nashville and will weave its way past several innovative stormwater management structures. An educational Water Quality Festival will be held concurrently that will provide entertainment and information for attendees. The race will be chip-timed and held in rain or shine. For additional details or to register, click here. Registration for the race is $35.
The Great Indoors Smart Summer Sweepstakes
TVA is offering individuals in its service territory the chance to win an energy-efficient home appliance package. Through August 8, TVA will be accepting entries to win a selection of prizes, including weekly prizes for camping gear and smart indoor/outdoor outlets as well as an energy-efficient home appliance package grand prize worth $4,000. Through social media interaction, applicants may earn up to 15 entries for the sweepstakes. Click here to enter.
TDEC to Provide Funding to Tennessee Local Power Companies for Home Uplift
In 2021, TDEC OEP provided grants of $750,000 to the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB), Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB), Memphis Light, Gas & Water (MLGW), and Nashville Electric Service (NES) to extend the reach of their respective Home Uplift Programs. These programs cover the costs of energy efficiency and weatherization measures for limited income homeowners that are customers in the noted service areas.
Eligible energy efficiency upgrades include air sealing, duct sealing/replacement, attic insulation, water heater and pipe insulation, wall insulation, HVAC cleaning and tuning, HVAC replacement, window and door replacement, heat pump water heater installation, refrigerator replacement, LED bulbs, and low-flow showerheads. In addition to saving money on their energy bills, participants also report improvements in the comfort and air quality of their homes. Click here for more information on Home Uplift.
Report: Solar in the Southeast
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) has released the latest iteration of its Solar in the Southeast report, which illuminates the critical role of utilities in the growing southeastern solar market. The purpose of the report is to document current progress and trends at both utility and state levels and to identify policies and practices to drive continued solar growth in the Southeast. To provide an equitable, unbiased comparison of various-sized utilities throughout the region, SACE has ranked utilities on the basis of watts of solar power sourced per customer. The report also features calculations and forecasts of total installed solar capacity by state.
The report shows a record year of growth for solar throughout the region, with nearly 4 GW of capacity added in 2020. TVA, while currently ranked 10th out of the 14 utilities considered (with 105 watts of sourced solar per customer), is projected to achieve 425 watts per customer by 2024, beating the current regional average. The report highlights the latest TVA solar projects, particularly those under its Green Invest program. It also identifies KUB as a SunRiser, a recognition reserved for utilities with the highest solar ambitions. Click here to access the full report. Click here to view an informational webinar covering the report.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
Past Monthly Newsletters: 
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.