East TN Clean Fuels to Co-Lead EMPOWER Workplace Charging Project
In November, U.S. DOE announced the selected recipients of funding under its FY2021 Low Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Vehicle Technologies Research, Demonstration, and Deployment funding opportunity. A nationwide collective of 30 U.S. DOE Clean Cities Coalitions was awarded nearly $4 million under the Electric Vehicle Workplace Charging Topic Area for a project titled “Equitable Mobility Powering Opportunities for Workplace Electrification Readiness” (EMPOWER). The project will engage approximately 2,000 employers on electric vehicle (EV) workplace charging and will seek at least 650 employer commitments to install a total of 3,500 EV charging stations at employer sites across the country. Leveraging its experience with the Drive Electric USA program, the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (ETCF) will provide administrative support and project management guidance for EMPOWER. Click here to read more about the project and ETCF’s participation.
Ford to Advance Workforce Development Curriculum for Blue Oval City
Earlier this year, Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation announced that they would invest $5.6 billion to develop a 3,600-acre mega campus called Blue Oval City at the Memphis Regional Megasite. This massive construction project will break ground in 2023, with plans to begin production of the all-electric F-Series trucks in 2025, creating 5,800 new jobs in West Tennessee. To accompany this investment, the automaker has initiated an effort to advance workforce development through a customized curriculum for both K-12 and technical college students focused on the skills necessary to produce electric trucks and batteries. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee also recently announced a new Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) to be developed on the Memphis Regional Megasite in conjunction with Blue Oval City. The new TCAT will provide training on EV and battery manufacturing and repair, concentrating on mechatronics engineering and automechanics. With Tennessee ranking near the top both regionally and nationwide in advanced industry job growth and EV manufacturing, the state hopes to continue developing resources to meet increasing workforce demand.
First Anode Manufacturing Facility in U.S. Opens in Chattanooga
At the end of November, the first battery anode manufacturing facility opened in Chattanooga. This represents a major step to enhance the domestic battery supply chain as it faces increasing demand from automakers trying to ramp up EV production. NOVONIX unveiled its Riverside Recharged facility, a 400,000 square foot retrofit of a former GE nuclear turbine manufacturing facility, which will produce 10,000 tonnes per year of premium synthetic graphite by 2023 and 40,000 tonnes by 2025.
The facility’s opening, which has resulted in the creation of 290 jobs in East Tennessee, works toward U.S. DOE’s goal of guiding investment to establish a secure domestic battery materials and supply chain by 2030, as outlined in the National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries. This investment, along with investment in battery research and clean energy incentives, aims to help position the U.S. as the leader of the global EV battery supply chain.
I-40 Alternative Fuel Corridor Stakeholder Survey
The Tennessee Department of Transportation and Tennessee Clean Fuels continue to identify new organizations interested in supporting the conversion of I-40 in Tennessee into an Alternative Fuel Corridor. Data collected from an accompanying survey will allow the formation of partnerships amongst a diverse group of state and local partners to accelerate the development and installation of public alternative fuel infrastructure along the interstate. Target respondents include local power and utility companies, local planning and zoning departments, metropolitan planning organizations, rural planning organizations, local governing bodies, elected officials, and more. The survey should take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete, and the team is accepting responses through December 31. Click here to access the survey.
Nationwide Electric Utility Coalition to Build Fast-Charging Infrastructure Network by 2023
The newly-formed National Electric Highway Coalition—made up of 51 investor-owned electric companies, one electric cooperative, and TVA—announced this month that it will provide EV fast-charging ports along major U.S. travel corridors by the end of 2023. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), an association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies, announced the formation of the Coalition through the merging of the Electric Highway Coalition and the Midwest Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Collaboration, as well as the addition of several new member utilities. EEI estimates that more than 100,000 EV fast-charging ports, more than a ten-fold increase from today, will be needed in the U.S. to support the 22 million EVs projected to be on the road by 2030. This initiative represents a commitment to investing in and providing the infrastructure necessary to facilitate EV adoption nationwide.
EPA Finalizes GHG Standards for Passenger Vehicles, Paving Way for Zero-Emissions Future
U.S. EPA has finalized its most ambitious ever federal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks. The final standards, for model years 2023 through 2026, leverage advances in clean car technology to unlock $190 billion in net benefits to Americans, and will reduce climate pollution, improve public health, and save drivers money on fuel.

The ambitious standards through 2026 also set the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) program on track to provide a strong launch point for EPA’s next phase of standards for model years 2027 and beyond. Over the lifetime of an individual model year 2026 vehicle, EPA estimates that the fuel savings will exceed the initial increase in vehicle costs by more than $1,000 for consumers, making the standards cost-effective in addition to achieving significant public health and welfare benefits.
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Updates and Feedback Opportunities
As part of the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), two new programs will receive funding to address carbon emissions reductions in the transportation sector through increased EV and alternative fuel adoption. The National Electric Vehicle Program will provide funding to states to strategically deploy EV charging infrastructure and to establish an interconnected EV network for data collection, access, and reliability. In addition, the IIJA establishes a Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Program to strategically deploy publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure as well as hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors.

The IIJA directs U.S. DOT to coordinate and consult with U.S. DOE to develop guidance for these two new programs. In fact, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg recently signed a memorandum of understanding to create a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to support the deployment of the $7.5 billion programs described above and to build out a national EV charging and alternative fuels infrastructure network, with a focus on filling gaps in rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach locations. One goal of this Joint Office is to support the transition of the nation’s transportation system, which currently accounts for 29% of all U.S. carbon pollution, to EVs and other zero-carbon and alternative fuel technologies.

U.S. DOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently posted a request for information (RFI) in the Federal Register to invite public comments that will inform program guidance development on the two aforementioned programs. FHWA is especially interested in comments suggesting ways that the guidance could promote equity in the development of EV charging infrastructure under these programs. The comment period will close on January 28. For questions about this RFI, contact Dan Stillson, FHWA Office of Policy, at 202-366-9202 or
Funding Opportunity: Reducing Diesel Emissions for a Healthier Tennessee
TDEC and ETCF are now accepting applications for the FY2021-2022 Reducing Diesel Emissions for a Healthier Tennessee (RDE4HT) funding program, supported by an award under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) State Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program.
The RDE4HT Program will fund several general categories of projects in this funding round:
  1. The replacement of eligible, older diesel class 5-8 medium-duty (MD) and heavy-duty (HD) vehicles with new, cleaner vehicles. Propane, compressed natural gas, electric, and new diesel vehicles will be eligible as replacements, and proposed replacements with alternative fueled vehicles will be prioritized during application evaluation. 
  2. The conversion of eligible diesel MD and HD vehicles to run on alternative fuels.
  3. The adoption of U.S. EPA-verified hybrid and/or idle-reduction technologies.
  4. The installation and use of idle-reduction measures, including truck stop electrification (TSE) HVAC and/or plug-in equipment and/or electrified transport refrigeration units (eTRUs) for freight and cargo delivery trailers.
Please note that U.S. EPA has made several recent changes to the State DERA program, impacting certain project eligibility measures in this year’s RDE4HT funding opportunity. Applicants for FY2021-22 RDE4HT funding must now provide documentation and verification to prove the following for eligible vehicle replacement and upgrade projects:
  1. The existing diesel vehicle proposed for replacement or upgrade is fully operational;
  2. The existing diesel vehicle has at least three years of remaining useful life at the time of replacement or upgrade;
  3. The existing diesel vehicle was owned and operated by the applicant for at least two years prior to replacement or upgrade; and
  4. The existing diesel vehicle traveled at least 7,000 miles per year during the two years prior to replacement or upgrade. (School buses may use mileage from calendar year 2019 to meet this vehicle mileage requirement.)
The deadline to submit applications is January 22. Please contact Jonathan Overly at 865-974-3625 or for more information.
Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum & Expo
Each year, TDEC and TDOT hold the Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum & Expo (STF&E), an annual conference where attendees share and discover projects that can reshape what is possible in transportation and mobility. The research, technology, planning, and policy developments shared at STF&E aim to improve transportation efficiency, reduce vehicle emissions, and address the mobility needs of all. Panelists and speakers from across the country highlight best practices to transform transportation systems efficiently, affordably, and sustainably.
This year's conference has been moved to a virtual platform and is free to attend. The 2021 STF&E will take place in January of 2022 through a series of moderated panels and the release of pre-recorded content to be shared with participants throughout the week. See below for webinar and registration information.
Pedestrian Travel and Safety – January 19 from 1:00-2:30 PM Central (register here)
  • Moderator: Erin Hafkenschiel, Executive Director for Mobility, Vanderbilt University
  • Lindsey Ganson, Advocacy and Communications Director, Walk Bike Nashville
  • Ashley Davies, Healthy Development Coordinator, Tennessee Department of Health
  • Cedric Duncan, Founder, Bike for Equality Nashville
  • Nick Oyler, Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager, City of Memphis
Sustainable Transportation Opportunities in Tennessee – January 21 from 10:00-11:30 AM Central (register here)
  • Moderator: Greg Young, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
  • Preston Elliot, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Transportation
  • David Salyers, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
For more information and details on past STF&E events, visit
Mentors Wanted for Automotive & Mobility Mentor Network
TennSMART and LaunchTN are actively recruiting seasoned leaders with experience in growing companies and raising capital and with technical or functional expertise related to the automotive industry for its Automotive & Mobility Mentor Network. The Automotive & Mobility Mentor Network pairs industry experts with startups through a structured, stage-gate process involving panel presentations and one-on-one mentoring sessions. The goal of the program is to provide sound, valuable advice that will help young companies develop and grow in Tennessee. Click here to apply.
TDEC Launches the Environmental Project Idea Compendium (EPIC)
TDEC recently announced the launch of a new tool called the Environmental Project Idea Compendium (EPIC), which allows local governments, colleges and universities, non-profits, and other entities to submit environmental project ideas in various stages of development. TDEC will catalog these project ideas and maintain them in an internal database to promote collaboration, align potential projects with funding and/or financing sources, and proactively prepare for future, potentially time-sensitive funding opportunities.
TDEC’s Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices (OPSP) will oversee and administer the program by maintaining the site and database of projects. OPSP will also handle communications. Questions about EPIC should be directed to Jenn Tribble at or Bryan Davidson at
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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