TVA Announces $500 Million Green Bond Offering
TVA recently launched a $500 million offering of 10-year maturity green bonds, the utility’s first offering of a sustainability-focused financial instrument. The bonds will fund ongoing capital investments that build on TVA’s Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives and are aligned with its Strategic Intent and Guiding Principles. The goal is to move TVA toward a sustainable, net-zero carbon energy future by 2050.

The bonds carry a coupon interest rate of 1.5%, the lowest rate ever achieved by TVA on 10-year financing. The low rate will save TVA over $15 million in annual interest expense compared to bonds that matured earlier in 2021. Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund TVA’s upcoming capital investments for increased renewable energy generation, energy storage, transmission system upgrades, and development of advanced clean energy technologies. Potential solar projects in north Alabama and east Tennessee are two other possible uses of the funding. The green bond offering drew more than $2 billion in initial orders from a variety of investors, including money managers, state governments, and insurance companies.
Clearloop Breaks Ground on First Solar Farm Financed by Carbon Offsets
Tennessee-based cleantech company Clearloop recently celebrated the groundbreaking of its 1 MW solar farm in Jackson, the first utility-scale solar farm in the U.S. directly financed by carbon offsets. The solar farm will provide enough zero-carbon energy to power 200 homes and reclaim 60 million pounds of carbon over its lifetime.

Clearloop offers agreements that enable companies to compensate for their carbon emissions impact by paying to fund new solar panels in communities with non-renewable and high emissions electric supply, cleaning up the grid while simultaneously helping to spur local development and economic growth. When evaluating where to invest, the company considers the local electricity grid, demographics and diversity, and economic well-being, with the goal of choosing sites with the greatest possible impact. Click here to learn more about the Jackson project. 
Launch Tennessee Awards $7 Million in SBIR/STTR Matching Funds to TN Businesses
Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) recently announced its newest cohort of 44 recipients under the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Matching Fund program. This Matching Fund is a strategic initiative developed and administered by LaunchTN to advance the commercialization of technology innovation and job creation across the state.
To date, companies awarded under this program have created over 500 direct jobs and brought $146,125,214 in economic impact to Tennessee – a return of $11.24 for every $1 invested into the program. Awarded companies will work to commercialize advanced technologies in the life sciences, biotech, advanced energy and cleantech, agtech, automotive, and mobility industries. Click here to see a full list of recipients.
U.S. DOE and NREL Release Solar Futures Study to Provide Blueprint for Zero-Carbon Grid
U.S. DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released the Solar Futures Study, which explores solar energy’s role in transitioning to a carbon-free electricity grid. The study finds that with aggressive cost reductions, supportive policies, and large-scale electrification, solar could account for as much as 40% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2035 and 45% by 2050.
The Solar Futures Study is the third in a series of vision studies from U.S. DOE and NREL, preceded by the SunShot Vision Study (2012) and On the Path to SunShot (2016). While the previous studies focused on the impacts of low-cost solar technologies on the economy, this study dives into solar energy’s role in a decarbonized grid and provides analysis of future solar technologies, the solar workforce, and how solar energy might interact with other technologies like storage. Key findings include:
  • With continued technological advances, electricity prices do not increase through 2035;
  • Achieving decarbonization requires significant acceleration of clean energy deployment, which will employ as many as 500,000–1.5 million people in solar jobs by 2035;
  • Storage, transmission expansion, and flexibility in load and generation are key to maintaining grid reliability and resilience;
  • Expanding clean electricity supply yields deeper decarbonization;
  • Land availability does not constrain solar deployment;
  • The benefits of decarbonization far outweigh additional costs incurred; and
  • Challenges must be addressed so that solar costs and benefits are distributed equitably.
Click here to access the full study.
2021-2022 Better Buildings Webinar Series
U.S. DOE Better Buildings has announced its 2021-2022 Webinar Series, which will run through April 2022. 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 first webinar in the series, titled “EVs at Apartments: Navigating Technology Trends and Implementation,” will take place on October 5 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern and will feature industry owners and experts exploring the demand for electric vehicles at multifamily properties and discussing how electric vehicles are part of a comprehensive energy strategy.
The following webinar, titled “Planning for the Future: New and Improved Pandemic Protocols,” will take place on October 19 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern. As building owners reflect on the pandemic, they are making plans to increase preparedness and enact responsive building operations that can reduce energy and scale occupancy. Participants will learn from U.S. DOE’s National Labs and Better Buildings partners as they discuss best practices for navigating future events.
Click here for the full webinar schedule.
STEM Talent Challenge
The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced the launch of the STEM Talent Challenge to support programs to train science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) talent and fuel regional innovation economies across the nation. The $2 million program will provide funding for work-and-learn programs to increase America’s STEM-capable workforce in emerging and transformative sectors such as space commerce, aeronautics, digital manufacturing, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and cybersecurity. Competition applicants may request up to $250,000 for implementation of a 24-month workforce development program that complements their region’s innovation economy. The deadline to apply is October 12. Click here to access the full Notice of Funding Opportunity. Click here to apply. 
2021 Tennessee Valley Solar Conference + Storage
The Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA) will host the Tennessee Valley Solar Conference + Storage on October 13 in Franklin. The focus of the Tennessee Valley Solar Conference is to bring together people interested in growing solar business opportunities in the Tennessee Valley to discuss strategies, market trends, and policies that impact the solar industry. Attendees will participate in in-depth and forward-looking discussions on TVA policy and processes and evolving technical opportunities facing the industry in the Tennessee Valley region.
This year’s agenda includes a fireside chat with representatives from TVA, Amazon, and Nashville-based solar company Silicon Ranch on the intersection of solar and jobs in the Tennessee Valley. The conference will also feature panels focused on the tools needed to maximize flexibility for local power companies, federal actions and market transformation, TVA’s Green Invest program, issues and opportunities with residential and small commercial solar, utility battery and storage safety, the benefits of distributed solar, and electric vehicle infrastructure.
The conference will include a livestream option for those who wish to attend the event remotely. Visit to learn more. Click here to register.
TVA Connected Communities: Call for Pilots
TVA recently launched a call for pilot project proposals under its Connected Communities grant program, with the goal of equitably improving the quality of life for communities in the TN Valley through innovative solutions with broad-range opportunities and applicability. Non-profits, businesses, governments, local power companies, and others served by TVA are invited to submit innovative pilot ideas that address one of the three Connected Communities focus areas—Equitable Access to Services, Economic Empowerment, and Energy & Environmental Justice. Approximately $3 million will be available to fund projects in each of the three Connected Communities focus areas. At least one pilot per focus area will be funded, and the maximum award amount will be $1 million per pilot.
Additional detail on the three focus areas is included below:
  1. Equitable Access to Services. Pilot ideas should be aimed at addressing the digital divide and gaps in broadband connectivity, including by increasing access to online platforms and services, internet-enabled devices, and tools to help build digital literacy and empowerment.
  2. Economic Empowerment. Pilot ideas should be aimed at helping communities increase awareness of and access to emerging career pathways for next generation jobs and equipping the workforce with the technology and data skills needed to make Connected Communities possible.
  3. Energy & Environmental Justice. Pilot ideas should be aimed at finding new ways to promote grid interactive technologies, maximize access to and adoption of clean energy technologies, and address environmental and public health outcomes through digitally connected devices, sensors, and data analytics.
Applications for the first focus area, Equitable Access to Services, were due September 30. Applications for the second and third focus areas, Economic Empowerment and Energy & Environmental Justice, are due October 20.
To learn more about this opportunity and access community resources and details about the evaluation criteria, visit or email Click here to apply.
Applications Open for Cohort 6 of Innovation Crossroads Program
ORNL is now accepting applications for Cohort 6 of its Innovation Crossroads program, a U.S. DOE- and TVA-supported initiative that embeds innovators at ORNL to develop and de-risk technologies that address large science questions impacting energy, advanced manufacturing, and/or the shared and integrated grid. The program serves as a platform for supporting and mentoring entrepreneurial researchers whose early-stage innovations are presently too challenging or technically uncertain to pursue in a venture capital-financed startup.
Throughout the program, selected innovators will receive assistance in designing business strategies, engaging in market research, discovering 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 $78,900-$89,000 per year; access to ORNL facilities, equipment, and expertise; and R&D funding to support collaboration opportunities with researchers across the lab.
Technology areas of interest include advanced manufacturing, atmospheric decarbonization, building technologies, digital economy, electrification and energy infrastructure, energy technology innovation, industry decarbonization, and intelligent systems and facilities. Eligible applicants include U.S. citizens and lawful permanent U.S. residents that hold a PhD or have equivalent experience.
ORNL will hold informational webinars on October 12 at 3:00 PM Eastern and October 21 at 1:00 PM Eastern to provide information on the program and how to apply. To register for a webinar, click here.
Full applications must be submitted by October 31Click here for full details on required application materials. To submit an application, go to the application portal.
U.S. DOE Announces New Communities LEAP Opportunity
On September 15, U.S. DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm introduced the Communities Local Energy Action Program (LEAP), a new pilot to facilitate sustained, community-wide economic and environmental benefits. This opportunity is specifically open to low-income, energy-burdened communities that are also experiencing either direct environmental justice impacts or economic impacts caused by a shift away from historical reliance on fossil fuels. Under the Communities LEAP Pilot, U.S. DOE will provide supportive services valued at up to $16M for community-driven clean energy transitions.
This initiative is designed to provide communities a single application to access technical assistance from many different U.S. DOE programs. Communities can identify multiple pathways of interest for clean energy-related economic development, including Renewable Energy Planning and Development, Energy Efficient Buildings and Beneficial Electrification Planning and Investment, Clean Transportation Planning and Investment, Carbon Capture and Storage, Energy Site Reclamation and Critical Minerals Processing, Community Resilience Microgrids, and New or Enhanced Manufacturing. Once the communities have been selected for technical assistance, U.S. DOE will match the communities with appropriate technical assistance providers and provide funding to the technical assistance providers to work with the selected communities.
Details on technical assistance (what it is, how to access support, etc.) can be found in the Opportunity Announcement (page 2 and Appendix A). More information on Communities LEAP can be found here: Communities LEAP applications are due December 17.
Energy Sector Workforce Diversity, Access, Inclusion, and Policy Case for Investment
The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) has released a new report titled, “Energy Workforce Diversity, Access, Inclusion, and the Policy Case for Investment: Recommendations for State Energy Office Action”. The report details how state energy offices, academia, and the private sector can work together to bolster a qualified and diverse energy workforce and to reach state energy, economic development, and climate goals. Such collaboration could aid competition, innovation, and help traditionally underserved communities to address clean energy and climate needs.
To achieve this, NASEO reports that state energy offices and other leading energy agencies could begin to implement measures such as prioritizing training of underrepresented populations, launching education programs, supporting job placement for disadvantaged workers, putting more public spending toward diverse-owned businesses and workers, and developing partnerships with Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) to tap for advice on policymaking, planning, and workforce development. The report also determines that partners could utilize foundations such as more inclusive procurement practices, paid internships, and workforce surveys to gain a more diverse footing at the state level and begin making long-term inroads. Click here to access the full report.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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