COVID-19 Energy Sector Response Efforts
U.S. DOE recently launched a webpage to gather information on the energy sector’s response to COVID-19. The site includes links to resource and information pages and features a continually updated list of frequently asked questions.

U.S. DOE continues to seek stakeholder input and collaboration on COVID-19 response from the country’s research community, particularly on how to leverage U.S. DOE user facilities, computational resources, and enabling infrastructure to address the current crisis. This solicitation is part of U.S. DOE’s efforts to provide prioritized access, where appropriate, to the full range of U.S. DOE science and technical resources available at national laboratories to support the ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please send research questions that the scientific community may address with U.S. DOE resources by email to Responses are being reviewed on an ongoing basis. More information can be found in the Dear Colleague Letter on U.S. DOE’s Coronavirus Resources Hub.

Chattanooga Plans for Solar Farm at Moccasin Bend Sewage Treatment Plant
The City of Chattanooga is planning a $5.25 million solar farm designed to provide power for the Moccasin Bend Sewage Treatment Plant, a large regional plant that treats up to 230 million gallons of wastewater per day. Officials estimate that half of the city’s power bill can be attributed to the treatment plant. To address this issue, power generated by the 10-acre solar farm will offset about 8% of the plant’s total power use, saving the city an estimated $200,000 per year in electricity bills. The solar farm will provide 3.18 MW of power, allowing an annual output of 4.4 GWh of renewable electricity.
Nominations Open for ACEEE Champion of Energy Efficiency in Buildings Awards
ACEEE is accepting nominations for the Champion of Energy Efficiency in Buildings awards. The awards will be presented at the 2020 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, which will take place in Pacific Grove, California on August 16-21. Nominations are encouraged for individuals and organizations that have led successful energy-saving efforts in the buildings sector. The ACEEE Board of Directors’ Awards Committee will select winners from nominees that have demonstrated impact, influence, initiative, innovation, and leadership in the following categories:
  • Research and Development (R&D): Excellence in baseline or background research as well as R&D of products and practices.
  • Implementation and Deployment: Effective design and implementation of programs or projects that save significant energy.
  • Energy Policy: Excellence in energy policy that supports or promotes efficiency at the federal, state, or local level.
  • Young Professional: Excellence and leadership in any of the above categories for nominees who are 35 (as of 8/16/2020) or younger.
Complete the online application to submit nominations. All nomination submissions are due May 8.
Funding to Train Emergency Response and Building Professionals in Distributed Energy Resources
U.S. DOE has announced $4.5 million in funding under the Educational Materials for Professional Organizations Working on Efficiency and Renewable Energy Developments (EMPOWERED) program, which provides training for professionals who work or interact with distributed energy resources (DER), including solar energy systems, battery energy storage systems (BESS), “smart” building technologies, and electric vehicles. The goal of EMPOWERED is to create resources that will promote safety in DER implementation and emergency response for first responders, safety officials, and building managers and owners. The EMPOWERED Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) includes two topics of interest:
  • Topic 1: Emergency Response and Resilience Planning: Firefighters and First Responders
  • Topic 2: Safe DER Building Integration: Building, Fire, and Safety Department Officials
U.S. DOE seeks applicants that will create and integrate education and training materials for professionals who have significant involvement and authority over implementing solar, building, or vehicle technologies on the distribution system but do not work primarily with these technologies. Applicants should both develop and test the efficacy of new education materials, as well as deliver the materials through existing training pathways for each professional role identified (e.g., for firefighters, applicants could incorporate their EMPOWERED project materials into training hosted by the International Fire Service Training Association, National Fire Protection Association, etc.). Concept papers under this funding opportunity are due May 5, and full applications are due July 8. Click here to view the full FOA.
U.S. DOE Releases RFI on Potential Funding for Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings in Connected Communities
U.S. DOE recently announced a Request for Information (RFI) on a potential funding opportunity to demonstrate and evaluate the capacity of energy-efficient buildings to interact with one another and the grid, providing greater degrees of demand flexibility at scale. The Notice of Intent (NOI) for this “Connected Communities” funding opportunity was announced in early February.

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. U.S. DOE anticipates awarding $42 million to 4-6 projects and intends to issue the full FOA sometime this summer. Responses to the RFI must be submitted electronically to no later than May 12 at 5:00 PM ET. Read and respond to the full RFI here.

Extended Deadline: TVA Issues RFP for Renewable Energy Resources
TVA recently issued a 2020 Renewable Energy Resources Request for Proposals (2020 Renewables RFP), calling on the world’s top developers to submit proposals for development of up to 200 megawatts of renewable energy that can be brought online by the end of 2023. This RFP is a part of an effort to promote large-scale renewable energy projects that will help diversify and green TVA’s power system portfolio, allowing the power provider to both meet its current customer demands for cleaner energy and to provide economic development opportunities by attracting companies with sustainability goals to the Tennessee Valley. Proposals are due to TVA by May 15, with selected winners to be announced in the fall. Click here to read the full 2020 Renewables RFP.
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.

Webinar: the Value of Distributed Energy Resources to Owners
U.S. DOE Better Buildings is hosting a webinar on May 6 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET entitled, “The Value of Distributed Energy Resources to Owners: A Current Market Landscape.” This webinar will include a presentation from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) on the DER technology options that exist in today’s market for building owners to help save on utility costs, improve resiliency, and meet carbon reduction goals. These opportunities include BESS, thermal storage, solar photovoltaics (PV), onsite generation/combined heat and power, and flexing of building loads. Click here to register.
Webinar: National Community Solar Partnership
U.S. DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office manages the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP), a coalition of community stakeholders working to expand access to affordable community solar by 2025. The program has three broad goals: 1) Make community solar accessible to every U.S. household; 2) Ensure community solar is affordable for every U.S. household; and 3) Enable communities to realize supplementary benefits and other value streams from community solar installations. To meet these goals, NCSP provides tools and information needed to design and implement successful community solar models through network infrastructure, technical assistance, and collaboration.

LBNL will host a webinar on May 7 from 2:00-3:00 PM ET to provide an overview of the NCSP program, including the technical assistance support available to NCSP partners, the partnership application process, and several examples of prior technical assistance engagements and their solar adoption outcomes. Click here to register for this webinar.

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.
Optimizing Solar PV for Longevity
U.S. DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) recently released a learning module to educate the public on optimization of solar PV performance and longevity through proper operations and maintenance. This module is part of FEMP’s PV Performance Initiative, which aims to understand the performance of the federal PV fleet and to use the findings to understand actual performance of existing systems as compared to expected performance when first installed. The module presents an overview on solar PV performance metrics and how they can be measured, how operations and maintenance actions can maximize these metrics over the lifetime of the PV array, and tips for developing a PV operations and maintenance plan.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Resources for Rural K-12 School Energy Managers and Educators
U.S. DOE recently published a document on energy efficiency and renewable energy resources for rural K-12 school energy managers and educators. This resource aims to help states, local school administrators, school boards, and facilities personnel supporting rural school districts make prudent decisions around the use of funds for energy efficiency improvements. Click here to view the full document.
An additional resource for K-12 energy managers and educators is the State of Tennessee’s Energy Efficient Schools Initiative (EESI), which offers a low-interest revolving loan program to fund energy-efficient retrofit projects in Tennessee’s public K-12 schools. Eligible projects include construction, rehabilitation, or repair measures that lead to energy conservation and cost savings such as interior and exterior lighting system upgrades, building insulation upgrades, HVAC improvements, and load shifting projects. For more information, visit the EESI Loan Program page. Interested parties should contact EESI Deputy Director Scott Slusher at to learn more about the current funding outlook and program details.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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