TVA Grows Solar Portfolio with New Green Invest Program
TVA recently announced the addition of 484 MW of solar power capacity via five newly contracted solar power systems, increasing TVA’s current solar capacity by 44%. These projects fall under TVA’s new Green Invest program for utility-scale renewable energy projects and are expected to go online by the end of 2022. More project information can be found below:
  • Silicon Ranch will develop a 35 MW solar facility for Vanderbilt University/Nashville Electric Service and an additional 80 MW solar facility in Madison County, TN.
  • OPD Energy will develop a 69.3 MW solar facility in Simpson County, KY.
  • Origis Energy will develop a 100 MW solar facility in Obion County, TN and an additional 200 MW solar facility in Lowndes County, MS (featuring 200 MWh of battery storage).
These solar contracts are part of TVA’s efforts to promote large-scale renewable energy projects and to install 14 GW of solar power in its service territory by 2038. Contact for more information.
ORNL Develops Energy-Saving Geothermal Battery
ORNL researchers recently developed a prototype geothermal battery that taps and stores heat energy from beneath the earth’s surface to provide heating, cooling, and hot water to buildings. The device uses water tanks, geothermal energy, and heat pumps to maintain a reservoir of water that can be used to heat or cool a house; in contrast to conventional natural gas or oil furnaces, this geothermal technology will not produce any harmful emissions or household pollutants such as carbon monoxide. The system differs from current geothermal technologies in that it only requires shallow drilling and also makes use of heat pumps, which can potentially decrease upfront installation and heat storage costs for homeowners and thereby make geothermal technologies more accessible for the average home.
OEP Accepting Applications for K-12 Energy Education Camps Across TN
TDEC OEP plans to conduct three Energy Education Camps for K-12 educators in 2020. The Camps are comprised of three-day training sessions and provide energy-related lesson plans and resources designed for use in the K-12 classroom. These lessons promote energy literacy as it relates to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and introduce educators to topics including, but not limited to, electricity generation, consumption, and measurement; renewable energy; and energy efficiency and conservation. 2020 Camps will be hosted at the following dates/locations:
  • June 16-18: Norris Dam State Park
  • June 23-25: Natchez Trace State Park
  • June 30-July 2: Henry Horton State Park
Participating educators will be provided with energy-related classroom materials, as well as complimentary lodging and meals. Visit to access the 2020 Energy Education Camps application. Applications are due by April 6
To learn more about OEP’s K-12 energy education programming, click here. For questions about the Camps or OEP’s other K-12 Energy Education activities, please contact Angela McGee at or 615-532-7816.
Nominations Open for 2020 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards
TDEC is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the 2020 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 2020 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; and Lifetime Achievement. For 2020, the program has also added three new award categories: Agriculture and Forestry, Natural Resources, and Water Quality.

The use of alternative fuels, advanced vehicle technologies, or other sustainable transportation projects could be eligible for an award under several categories, including Clean Air, Energy and Renewable Resources, or Agriculture and Forestry. 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 2019 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 March 31, and winners will be announced in May. Contact Kathy Glapa at (615) 253-8780 or with any questions.

U.S. DOE Announces $96 Million in Funding for Bioenergy Research and Development
U.S. DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office announced over $96 million in funding for bioenergy research and development. Projects should aim to reduce the price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower, and/or enable high-value products from biomass or waste resources. Topic areas include, but are not limited to, efficient wood heaters, biopower and products from urban and suburban wastes, biomass to restore natural resources, algae bioproducts, and CO2 direct-air-capture and efficiency. Concept papers are due March 5, and full applications are due April 30. Click here to learn more.
U.S. DOE Announces $125.5 Million in Funding for Solar Energy Technologies
U.S. DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office announced over $125 million in funding to support early-stage research and development of solar technologies that promote use and integration of solar into the electric grid. These projects will advance research and development in photovoltaics, concentrated solar power, and energy management technologies, while also working to improve cybersecurity, expand solar to new applications and use cases, integrate solar and storage, and utilize artificial intelligence to address research challenges.

Topic areas include, but are not limited to, photovoltaics hardware research, systems integration, system design and impacts analysis in agricultural solar, and small innovative projects in photovoltaic and concentrated solar power. Mandatory letters of intent for most topic areas under this funding opportunity are due March 9 with concept papers due March 16. Full applications for all areas of interest are due May 21. Click here to read the full funding opportunity announcement (FOA).

REAP to Fund Rural Energy Projects
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. This program helps improve American energy independence by both increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers. Funding for Fiscal Year 2020 is available in a variety of forms, each under its own application process and timeline:
  • Grants and/or Loans of $20,000 or less: Applications are due March 31.
  • Unrestricted Grants and/or Loans: Applications are due March 31.
  • Guaranteed Loan: Applications are accepted on a continuous cycle.
Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as biomass (biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels); geothermal for electric generation or direct use; hydropower below 30 MW; hydrogen; small and large wind generation; small and large solar generation; and ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation. Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC); insulation; lighting; cooling or refrigeration units; doors and windows; electric, solar, or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots; switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor; and replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

Click here to learn more and to apply for REAP financial assistance. Interested parties in Tennessee should contact Adia Holland at or 615-783-1373 for further information.

U.S. DOE to Release Funding for Building Energy Efficiency and Demand Flexibility Projects
U.S. DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) announced that it will issue a FOA to demonstrate and evaluate the capacity of energy-efficient buildings to interact with one another and the grid and to provide greater degrees of demand flexibility at scale. It will also enable grid-interactive efficient building communities across the country to share research results and lessons learned on projects that increase grid reliability, resilience, security, and energy integration.

The funding opportunity will support U.S. DOE’s Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings Initiative, which explores how smart building technologies and practices enable businesses and families to save energy and reduce costs while preserving comfort, productivity, and quality of life. BTO anticipates awarding $42 million to 4-6 projects and intends to issue the full FOA sometime this summer. Click here to read the announcement.

Webinar: How Energy Efficiency Impacts Mortgages and More
U.S. DOE Better Buildings will host a webinar on March 3 to address the financial impact of energy performance and to provide attendees with the information needed to assess energy and climate risk in their real estate portfolios. Expert panelists from academia, commercial real estate, and the insurance industry will discuss recent research, new tools, and strategies that can help building owners analyze and quantify these risks and inform resilience planning at the asset level. Click here to register.
Workshop: Understanding and Optimizing Compressed Air Systems
Tennessee Tech University’s Industrial Assessment Center will host a free, two-day workshop called “Understanding and Optimizing Your Compressed Air System” from March 16-17 at Tennessee Tech’s Cookeville campus. Participants will learn how to make informed decisions on selecting new compressed air equipment as well as how to optimize the energy efficiency of existing compressed air systems. The workshop’s instruction team will present case studies from compressed air surveys and provide information on efficient compressed air generation, conditioning, use, and distribution. Click here for additional information; contact Michelle Davis at or 931-372-6386 with questions or to register for this workshop.
2020 Building Science Conference and Expo
TVA EnergyRight will host the 2020 Building Science Conference and Expo from March 17-18 at the Knoxville Convention Center. The conference will provide continuing education training and certification opportunities in addition to sessions on commercial building science, workforce development initiatives, serving hard-to-reach customers, and multifamily housing energy efficiency programs. The event promotes energy efficient home performance through education and the promotion of building science principles. Members of the Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville may receive a conference registration discount. Click here to register.
2020 Tennessee Environmental Conference
The Tennessee Environmental Conference, now in its nineteenth year, will be hosted at the Meadowview Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport from March 23-25. The conference will feature more than 40 presenters from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors addressing the latest trends, practices, and policies aimed at preserving the state’s natural resources, balancing growth, improving human health, fostering sustainability and innovation, supporting ecotourism, and protecting the environment. TDEC Commissioner David Salyers will deliver the keynote address, and representatives from Drive Electric Tennessee and Tennessee Clean Fuels will provide an update on ongoing efforts to drive electric vehicle adoption in the state. Click here to register. Click here to view the draft agenda.
2020 Geothermal Design Challenge
U.S. DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office and the Idaho National Laboratory are jointly hosting the 2020 Geothermal Design Challenge: GIS Mapping Student Competition, a challenge for student teams to utilize GIS mapping software to promote understanding and raise awareness about the benefits of geothermal energy technologies. The challenge includes a number of potential geothermal technology topic areas for students to address, including educational strategies, economic impacts, innovations and challenges, the role of GIS in geothermal energy, power generation area identification, and more. Registration for the challenge is now open, and project draft submission will begin on March 30.
ACEEE Accepting Abstracts for Behavior, Energy, & Climate Change Conference
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is accepting abstracts for presentation at the Behavior, Energy, & Climate Change Conference (BECC) 2020, which will take place in Washington, D.C. from December 6-9. BECC invites potential applicants to present on the following: 
  • Encouraging behavior change for energy and carbon savings; 
  • Evaluating such behavior-change programs; 
  • Understanding and predicting why individuals and groups change; and 
  • Promoting improved climate and energy behaviors in fair and equitable ways. 
Presentations may touch on a variety of energy and climate topics, including electrification, utilities, renewables, sustainability programs and strategies, resilience and adaptation, and government policy. Abstracts are due April 1. Click here to submit.
State and Local Energy Profiles
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in collaboration with U.S. DOE, has developed a suite of interactive datasets delivering detailed renewable procurement, energy consumption, commercial buildings, and vehicle information estimated for each U.S. city and county. These resources are meant to inform data-driven energy decision making at the State and local levels. The data includes information on electricity and gas consumption and expenditures, vehicle registrations by fuel type, and commercial and residential building energy expenditures for each U.S. census tract, city, county, and state.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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