OEP Supports K-12 Energy Education Across Tennessee
On March 26, OEP hosted an Energy Education Workshop for students and educators of Fort Loudon Middle School in Loudon County. OEP also celebrated Earth Day (April 22) by conducting Energy Education Workshops at Bolivar Middle School (Hardeman County) and Linden Middle School (Perry County). For these workshops, OEP partnered with the Nashville-based Science Guys program to provide demonstrations regarding energy-related topics, including chemical reactions, electric circuitry, the force of gravity, and radiant energy. The three workshops were attended by approximately 300 students and educators from the participating schools. OEP also provided participating educators with educational materials for their classrooms at no cost to the schools.
Finally, OEP hosted a K-12 Energy Education booth at the Jackson Earth Day Festival on April 20, which realized an attendance of 600, including children who spent the day performing hands-on energy experiments with topics on solar power, energy efficiency, electric circuitry, and more. The children were able to take home energy-related educational materials. Learn more about OEP’s K-12 Energy Education programming here.
BlueCross BlueShield to Install Solar at Chattanooga Headquarters
In May, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will install the first of about 10,000 solar panels on office and parking facilities at its Chattanooga headquarters. The $10 million project will be capable of generating 4.3 megawatts of electricity and will be the second-largest solar array in the city, behind only the $30 million solar farm installed at the Volkswagen automotive assembly plant in 2012, capable of generating 9.5 megawatts of electricity. Click here to learn more.
Millington Solar Facility Goes Live
Earlier this month, Silicon Ranch, TVA, the City of Millington, the Millington Industrial Development Board, and Memphis Light Gas & Water officially flipped the switch on a 53-megawatt solar facility in Millington, which will produce enough electricity to power approximately 7,500 homes. The facility was designed with a single-axis tracking table mounting system, allowing its 525,000 solar panels to follow the sun across its daily arc. Silicon Ranch owns, operates, and maintains the facility through a long-term power purchase agreement with TVA. The facility provides solar power to TVA customers, including Naval Support Activity Mid-South (a local installation of the U.S. Navy), at cost-competitive rates. Learn more here.
U.S. DOE Announces Six Funding Opportunities for Energy Projects
1. Solar Energy Technologies Research
U.S. DOE announced up to $130 million in funding to advance research in solar energy technologies. The funding program will target five research areas: photovoltaics; concentrating solar-thermal power; soft costs reduction; innovations in manufacturing; and solar systems integration. Applicants must submit a mandatory letter of intent to apply by May 7 as well as a concept paper by May 14. Click here to learn more about the funding opportunities.
2. Hydropower Technologies Research
U.S. DOE announced up to $26 million to support projects that advance the marine and hyrokinetics industry and increase hydropower’s ability to serve as a flexible grid resource. Applicants may submit proposals under four topic areas: Hydropower Operational Flexibility; Low Head Hydropower and In-Stream Hydrokinetic Technologies; Advancing Wave Energy Device Design; and Marine Energy Centers Research Infrastructure Upgrades. Selected projects will aim to increase affordability of hydropower and marine energy, strengthen U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, and build on U.S. DOE’s energy storage initiatives. Concept papers are due by May 13. Click here to access the funding announcement.
3. Cybersecurity in Energy Efficient Manufacturing
U.S. DOE announced up to $70 million to establish a Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute dedicated to advancing cybersecurity in energy efficient manufacturing. The Institute will pursue targeted research and development that will focus on understanding the evolving cybersecurity threats to greater energy efficiency in manufacturing industries, developing new cybersecurity technologies and methods, and sharing information and knowledge to the broader community of U.S. manufacturers. Concept papers are due by May 15. Click here to access the funding announcement.
4. Flexible Building Technologies, HVAC, and Solid-State Lighting
U.S. DOE announced up to $47 million through its Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) 2019 program to fund technology innovations that promote energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings. The BENEFIT program will provide funding under three topic areas: Flexible Building Technologies (e.g., cybersecurity through adaptive building controls, thermal energy storage, etc.); Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technologies; and Solid-State Lighting Technologies. Concept papers are due by May 21. Click here to access the funding announcement.
5. Accelerating Pumped-Storage Hydropower Adoption
U.S. DOE announced the opening of an American-Made Challenge Prize for ideas on how to reduce the time, cost, and risk required to commission for pumped-storage hydropower (PSH) projects. Finalists under the Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for PSH Prize will receive vouchers for up to 50 hours of support from one of four U.S. DOE national laboratories to prepare for a pitch contest, resulting in up to three winners and up to $550,000 of combined cash prizes and voucher support. Concept papers are due by May 24.
6. High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation
U.S. DOE announced a $5.2 million funding opportunity under the High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation (HPC4EI) Initiative. The new funding opportunity seeks qualified industry partners to work collaboratively with U.S. DOE’s national laboratories on projects that use High Performance Computing to solve key technical challenges, including development and optimization of modeling and simulation codes; porting and scaling of applications; application of data analytics; and applied research and development of tools or methods. HPC4EI has three funding tracks: Materials, Manufacturing, and Mobility. Selected projects and follow-on projects will be awarded up to $300,000 to support compute cycles and work performed by the national laboratory partners. Applications are due by July 30. Click here to apply
TVA Accepting Proposals for 200 Megawatts of Renewable Energy
TVA recently announced that it is accepting proposals to develop 200 megawatts of new stand-alone renewable energy resources and/or renewable energy + battery energy storage systems. Proposed projects should be brought online by the end of 2022. Developers can review TVA’s request for proposal and submit bids at Proposals are due to TVA by May 15.
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. Applications for LIHEAP 2019 are due by September 30.
Webinar: Energy Efficiency in Residential HVAC
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) will host a webinar on May 2 from 12:00 – 1:00 PM ET to discuss energy efficient opportunities for residential heating and cooling. Speakers from Efficiency Vermont, Ardenna Energy, and ACEEE will discuss residential window attachments, dual-fuel residential programs offering measures to save on electricity and natural gas, and other residential energy systems upgrades. Click here to register for the webinar.
TAEBC "Ask Me Anything" Session: Silicon Ranch CEO Matt Kisber
The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) recently announced a new, three-part meeting series that will give attendees the opportunity to “ask anything” from some of the most well-known energy CEOs in the state. Its first “Ask Me Anything” session will feature solar developer Silicon Ranch Corporation Co-Founder and CEO, Matt Kisber, on Tuesday, May 21 at Silicon Ranch’s Nashville headquarters, starting at 2:00 PM CT. RSVP for the meeting now as space is limited. Click here to learn more about TAEBC’s “Ask Me Anything” series.
Register for the Tennessee Valley Solar Conference
The Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA) will host the Tennessee Valley Solar Conference on October 16 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Franklin. The purpose of the conference is to bring together solar advocates and adopters to discuss strategies, market trends, and policies that impact the Tennessee Valley solar industry. Visit to learn more. Early bird registration is now available.
U.S. DOE Web Updates: How Wind Energy Works
U.S. DOE recently updated its Wind Energy Technologies Office website with information on how wind energy works, including an interactive animation with a detailed view of a wind turbine, its components, and their functionality. Visit the new website to learn more about the basics of wind power and find wind projects across the country.
SACE Releases Annual "Solar in the Southeast" Report
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) recently released their annual "Solar in the Southeast" report. The purpose of the report is to document current progress and trends at both utility and state levels, as well as identify policies and practices to drive continued solar growth in the Southeast. According to the report, the Southeast will surpass 10,000 megawatts of installed solar by the end of 2019. With this high uptake, SACE now anticipates 19,000 megawatts of solar to be installed in the region by 2022, up from its prior projection of 15,000 megawatts by the same timeframe. Click here to read the full report.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
Past Monthly Newsletters: 
February 2019
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