TVA Generates More Power from Renewable Energy than from Coal in Q1 2020
For the first time in over six decades, TVA generated more power from renewable resources than from coal during the first three months of 2020. A combination of mild weather and COVID-19-related shutdowns allowed TVA to rely on its coal plants for only 12% of its power needs. In March, TVA periodically shut off its 25 coal-fired units to rely solely on its nuclear, hydro, natural gas, solar, and purchased power to meet electricity needs within its region. Nuclear resources alone provided 43% of all TVA-generated power in the first quarter of 2020, with increased hydropower production at TVA dams due to abundant rainfall.
At one time, coal supplied over two-thirds of the power provider’s electricity; since then, TVA has phased out more than half of the 59 coal plants it once operated. This phase out and the coinciding expansion of the use of renewable power (with over 8,000 MW of renewables currently under TVA contract) has put TVA on track to reduce carbon emissions by 60% from 2005 peak levels by 2020, and by 70% by 2023.
Tennessee Entities Earn 2020 ENERGY STAR® Awards for Sustained Excellence
Last month, two Tennessee entities were recognized by U.S. EPA with the 2020 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award, the highest honor given to organizations that are dedicated to protecting the environment through energy efficient operations:
  • Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville was recognized for its longstanding commitment to the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes program, having built 60 ENERGY STAR certified homes in 2019 alone. The group has built more than 500 certified homes since joining the ENERGY STAR program in 2006. Last year, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville trained more than 7,000 volunteers on how to correctly install insulation, air seal windows and doors, and implement other ENERGY STAR-recommended building practices. The group also informed numerous homeowners and local codes officials about the value of home energy efficiency and promoted the ENERGY STAR program to other Habitat offices.
  • Franklin-based Nissan North America, Inc. was also recognized for its commitment to energy management. In 2019, Nissan launched a new employee engagement communication campaign titled, “Save at Home! Save at Work!,” which reached thousands of employees with energy efficiency tips and tricks and distributed programmable thermostats to the company’s workforce. Nissan also received ENERGY STAR’s first-ever energy efficiency certification for an automobile engine plant and achieved a 3.1% reduction in its U.S. plants’ energy intensity in 2019.
To view the full list of awardees and their 2019 accomplishments, click here.
GM's Spring Hill Manufacturing Plant to Be 100% Solar-Powered by 2022
TVA has entered into a green tariff agreement with General Motors (GM) via its Green Invest program to supply up to 100 MW of solar power annually to GM’s Spring Hill manufacturing plant. The renewable power will be sourced from a nearby solar farm currently under development by Origis Energy and will produce enough clean energy to power up to 18,000 average U.S. households. This project is expected to help boost GM’s use of renewable energy to more than 50% of its sourced electricity by 2023, moving the company closer to its goal of sourcing all of its electricity from renewables for all U.S. GM-owned sites by 2030. 
Tennessee Small Businesses Receive DOE Funding for Energy-Related Research and Development
U.S. DOE recently announced that it will provide $53 million to 256 awardees under Phase I of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These grants are intended to help small businesses conduct research and development related to a variety of topic areas, including energy production, storage, and security. Eight Tennessee-based entities will receive nearly $1.6 million for projects focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy, nuclear energy, and defense nuclear proliferation. Tennessee-based awardees include Xtallized Intelligence, Inc.; MillenniTEK, LLC; Cryomagnetics, Inc.; PHDs Co.; Active Energy Systems, Inc.; INFISYS, Inc., SkyNano, LLC; and Analysis & Measurement Services Corp.
The Phase I grants will allow these businesses to research the technical feasibility of new innovations that advance the mission of U.S. DOE. Successful Phase I grantees will be eligible to apply for Phase II awards in fiscal year 2021 that will allow them to develop novel prototypes or processes to validate their Phase I research findings. To learn more about the selected Phase I projects, click here.
ORNL to Partner with Universities and Other National Labs on Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute
ORNL has entered into a national consortium of universities, national laboratories, and industry partners under the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), which seeks to make U.S. manufacturing more energy efficient and cyber secure. Led by the University of Texas-San Antonio, CyManII aims to bolster U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, energy efficiency, and innovation by focusing on early-stage research and development projects that secure both manufacturing automation and associated supply chain networks. CyManII will develop an enhanced understanding of evolving cybersecurity threats to manufacturing; develop new cybersecurity technologies and methods; share research and development information with U.S. manufacturers; and address the need for education, training, and workforce development in related fields.
DOE Announces Funding to Enhance Manufacturing Competitiveness Through Innovation
U.S. DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) recently announced up to $67 million to stimulate technology innovation in U.S. manufacturing, improve associated energy productivity, and enable the manufacturing of cutting-edge products across the country. Projects selected under this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will aim to improve energy efficiency in energy-intensive processes and facilitate the transition to emerging, cost-competitive energy technologies in domestic production under the following three topic areas:
  1. Efficiency Improvements in Advanced Manufacturing Processes
  2. Efficiency Improvements in Chemical Manufacturing
  3. Connected, Flexible, and Efficient Manufacturing Facilities, Products, and Energy Systems
U.S. DOE anticipates making up to 33 awards. Industry partners must provide at least 20% cost share for new research and development projects. Concept papers for this FOA are due June 25, and full applications are due August 26. Click here to view the full FOA and apply.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded grant program that aims to assist low-income households, primarily those who pay a high proportion of household income on home energy, in meeting their immediate energy needs. In Tennessee, LIHEAP is administered through a network of 19 local agencies that reach all 95 counties.

Applicants must come from eligible households with income at or below 150% of U.S. Poverty Guidelines. Applications, along with all necessary verifications, must be submitted through the designated LIHEAP agency in the applicant's county of residence. LIHEAP is a one-time assistance offered to help defray heating and cooling expenses, as long as funding is available. LIHEAP assistance does not go directly to the client or applicant; rather direct payments are made through the LIHEAP agency to the local utility company or energy supplier.

For more information or further assistance with the application process, please contact your local LIHEAP agency. Click here for a list of agencies and counties they serve. Click here to learn more about LIHEAP in Tennessee.

2020 Better Buildings, Better Plants Virtual Summit
The 2020 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit is transitioning from an in-person conference to a virtual leadership symposium, to be held June 8-11. Through the virtual summit, Better Buildings partners will have the opportunity to share best practices and new ideas for maintaining building operations, addressing workforce challenges, and continuing to improve energy security and resilience. The Summit will feature a series of webinars and peer exchanges as well as networking calls for the education, healthcare, local government, and workforce development sectors. The Summit will also include a fireside chat with U.S. DOE national laboratories on trends and emerging technologies in the building energy space. Finally, the Summit will feature a collaborative workshop highlighting affordable financing of energy and water efficiency housing upgrades. View the full Summit schedule here. To sign up for individual sessions, meet-ups, and workshops, register here.
Webinar: How Bio-Energy + Combined Heat & Power Lead to Carbon Reductions for Municipalities
U.S. DOE’s Southeast Combined Heat & Power Technical Assistance Partnership (CHP TAP) will host a webinar on June 17 from 1:00 PM – 2:10 PM Eastern titled, “How Bio-Energy + Combined Heat & Power (CHP) Lead to Carbon Reductions for Municipalities.” This webinar will provide information on how municipalities can reduce emissions through combined heat and power applications that leverage local waste streams (e.g., performing anaerobic digestion or methane capture at landfills to produce renewable electricity and/or steam). Bio-energy CHP increases utilization of renewable fuel sources, decreases greenhouse gas emissions, leads to cost savings, and bolsters energy resilience.
Audience members, which may include municipal services personnel, municipal/local government leaders and sustainability managers, public works managers, and directors of facilities operations, will hear CHP and bioenergy success stories and best practices from both the McAlpine Creek wastewater facility in Pineville, NC and the Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority in Pontonoc, MS. Click here to register.
Low-Income Energy Affordability Resources
ORNL recently released two resources on low-income energy burden. The first, “Low-Income Energy Affordability: Conclusions from a Literature Review,” examines the persistent problem of high energy burdens among low-income households and evaluates promising opportunities to address energy affordability via inclusive solar programs, leveraged health care benefits, and behavioral economics. The second resource, “Annotated Bibliography of Literature Addressing Low-Income Energy Affordability in the United States,” details literature published from 2010 to 2019 that examines low-income energy affordability in the U.S. These resources are intended to support State and local government planning and program development to address low-income energy issues.
Rural Data Resources for State Energy Planning and Programs
The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) has released a new report titled, “Rural Data Resources for State Energy Planning and Programs.” Rural and small-town energy use, access, and costs present a major challenge for policymakers and program administrators as states become increasingly concerned with rural energy burdens. This report aims to support states as they develop rural energy programming and policies by identifying key attributes of the rural energy sector, providing rural energy data sources, identifying potential partner agencies, and providing examples of data-driven policies or programming, with the ultimate goal of improving the delivery of energy-related assistance and services to these underserved communities.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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