Mayor Cooper Announces Climate and Sustainability Initiatives
Earlier this month, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced that his administration had signed the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy as a precursor to participating in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a coalition of 94 cities around the world focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As part of his announcement, Mayor Cooper also introduced multiple initiatives that will reduce energy consumption and emissions in Nashville and Davidson County:
  • Solar power installations at multiple Metro facilities to expand Metro’s renewable energy portfolio;
  • Creation of an “Energy Savings Program” and “Energy Savings Revolving Fund” to support energy efficiency projects in Metro’s general government facilities;
  • Pursuit of LEED certifications for two Metro-owned facilities, the Sheriff’s Office Downtown Campus and the Metro Police Department Headquarters and Family Safety Center;
  • Establishment of a Sustainability Advisory Board that will review sustainability initiatives advanced by the Mayor’s Office and by the Metro Council; and
  • Introduction of legislation aimed at strengthening tree protections under the Metro Code.
With these and future initiatives, Mayor Cooper’s administration has a goal of reducing Nashville’s community-scale greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030 and 70% by 2050. For more information, click here.
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 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
Energy Education Camps are offered free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. All participating educators will receive $200 in materials to teach energy education topics in the classroom or at afterschool programs, as well as a certificate of participation to receive professional development hours. Click here 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.
TVA Seeks Input on Proposed Lincoln County Solar Project
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, TVA has prepared a draft environmental assessment to examine the potential environmental impacts of a proposed 150 MW solar facility in Lincoln County. TVA is now requesting comments in response to this draft environmental assessment; comments may be submitted online, via email to, or by mail to Elizabeth Smith (400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT 11B-K, Knoxville, TN 37902). To be considered, comments must be submitted or postmarked by January 3, 2020. Please note that any comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the project administrative record and will be available for public inspection.
U.S. Solar Sees Record Installations in Q3 2019
A recent U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association shows that the U.S. added 2.6 GW of solar photovoltaic generating capacity in the third calendar quarter of 2019 (including 712 MW of residential solar), which represents a 45% increase as compared to the capacity added in the third calendar quarter of 2018. The current total capacity of U.S. solar photovoltaic installations is now 71.3 GW, which is enough to power 13.5 million American homes.
Electric Eel Powers Christmas Lights at Tennessee Aquarium
This holiday season, an electric eel named Miguel Wattson helped keep the lights on at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. The freshwater fish produced surges of electricity that were captured by a special system installed in its tank to power strands of lights on a nearby Christmas tree. The brightness of the lights varied based on the voltage of the shocks (the eel will release low-voltage surges while searching for food and higher-voltage surges when it is eating or excited). To learn more about Miguel and his daily jolts of electricity, click here.
2020 Environmental Education Grants Program
The U.S. EPA has announced $3 million in federal grant money for local environmental education projects as part of the 2020 Environmental Education Grants Program. Funded projects will increase public awareness of various environmental matters and will enhance participants’ abilities to make informed decisions on environmental issues. Example projects include workshops, field trips, interactive programs, conferences, etc. Eligible applicants include local education agencies, state education or environmental agencies, colleges or universities, nonprofit organizations, noncommercial educational broadcasting entities, and tribal education agencies. Applications for this Program are due by 11:59 PM ET on January 6. More information is available on the U.S. EPA website.
U.S. DOE Announces Subtopics for SBIR and STTR Programs
U.S. DOE recently announced topics for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which help small businesses conduct innovative product research and development. Small businesses that win federal awards in these programs keep the rights to any technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology via future funding rounds. Recently issued FY 2020 Phase I Release 2 topics address potential research in critical materials, energy storage, grid integration, cybersecurity, and the circular economy. Letters of intent are due by January 6. Click here to read the full funding opportunity announcement.
USDA REAP to Fund Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) recently opened its “Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance” grants (EA & REDA), to support rural small businesses and agricultural producers in the evaluation, implementation, and utilization of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. EA & REDA funds can support energy audits, renewable energy technical assistance, and renewable energy site assessments. Eligible projects costs may include salaries related to an EA or REDA project; travel expenses directly related to conducting EA or REDA projects; office supplies; and administrative expenses, which include, but are not limited to, utilities, office space, and operation expenses of office and other project-related equipment. Applicants must submit separate applications, limited to one EA project and one REDA project per fiscal year. The maximum aggregate amount of an EA & REDA grant per applicant in a Federal fiscal year is $100,000.

Applications for EA & REDA funds are due to REAP by January 31. Click here to learn more and to apply for REAP financial assistance. Click here to find the REAP point of contact for your Tennessee region.

New Volkswagen Community Grant Program in Tennessee
Volkswagen, TVA, and the Conservation Fund recently created a community grant program to support local governments, tribal entities, or nonprofits working in eastern Tennessee to promote environmental education, local watershed quality, and outdoor recreation (which could include transportation and mobility projects such as enhanced public access to outdoor recreation resources). Applicants are eligible to receive up to $50,000, and applications are due February 14. Click here to review the grant application.
Webinar: How Do Nonresidential Energy Efficiency Programs Benefit Low-Income Communities?
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) will host a webinar on January 15 at 3:00 PM ET to discuss how energy efficiency program implementers can reach nonresidential and community-serving institutions in low-income areas, including nonprofits, schools, local government buildings, locally owned businesses, medical facilities, shelters, and community centers. Speakers from Energy Outreach Colorado’s Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program and the City of Minneapolis’ Green Cost Share Program will provide insight on how their activities have benefited low-income communities and will share tips on program design, policies, and outreach strategies that can assist in the success of such programs. Click here to register for the webinar.
2020 ACEEE Conference on Health, Environment, and Energy
ACEEE will hold its annual Conference on Health, Environment, and Energy in New Orleans from January 21-23. The Conference will showcase research from ACEEE’s Health and Environment Program as well as the work of prominent experts and academics in this growing field. Georges C. Benjamin, MD, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, will deliver a keynote address on public health approaches for addressing climate change. Other speakers will touch on energy programs that can support vulnerable populations, how health and energy targets can be translated into local action, and potential funding opportunities that can support the intersection between energy innovation and health outcomes. Participants may include health professionals, researchers, policymakers, regulators, advocates, and more. Physicians (CMEs), nurses (CNEs), public health professionals (CHES/CPH), architects (HSW LUs), and building science professionals can also earn continuing education credits at this event. Click here to view the preliminary conference agenda. Click here to register.
2020 NASEO Energy Policy Outlook Conference and Innovation Summit
NASEO will host its 2020 Energy Policy Outlook Conference and Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. from February 4-7. The conference will examine key policies and initiatives needed to promote modernization and resilience across the nation’s energy infrastructure. This event will feature in-depth discussions from prominent federal energy policymakers and private sector leaders on critical investments needed for strong, reliable, and affordable energy systems. Potential attendees include utility leaders, building architects and engineers, industrial and manufacturing representatives, nonprofit organizations, technology innovators, energy companies, and financial investment and service companies. Click here to register.
2020 ACEEE Rural Energy Conference
ACEEE will hold its second Rural Energy Conference in Chicago on February 25. This event will explore how energy efficiency and clean energy can increase rural prosperity and will highlight research and best practices for increasing economic equity and rural livelihoods through energy efficiency. Industry, nonprofit, academic, and government experts will discuss strategies for promoting clean energy in rural communities and how local policy can drive energy savings and economic growth in these critical areas. Click here to view the conference agenda. Click here to register.
Energy Efficiency Tools
ACEEE, the Alliance to Save Energy, and The Business Council for Sustainable Energy have collaborated to release the Energy Efficiency Impact Report, which summarizes the contribution of energy efficiency to society across the utility, buildings, industry, and transportation sectors. The report also examines how policy and other tools are used to incentivize energy efficiency and measure the impacts of energy efficiency investments and innovations to date. For example, the report identifies the six most impactful U.S. energy efficiency policies and programs—vehicle fuel economy standards; appliance and equipment efficiency standards; the use of ENERGY STAR-certified technologies and appliances; utility sector energy efficiency programs; federal research, development, and deployment; and building energy codes—that have collectively saved an estimated 25 quads of energy in 2017, or roughly 20% of what U.S. total energy consumption would have been without such energy efficiency investments. Additionally, without energy efficiency investments made since 1980, U.S. energy consumption and emissions would have been 60% higher in 2017, and consumers would be paying nearly $800 billion more per year in energy costs.

ACEEE has also updated its Local Clean Energy Self-Scoring Tool, which allows users to score communities’ energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts. This helps users to evaluate the energy impact of current or proposed community-wide initiatives, government operations, and building, utility, and transportation policies. By cataloging energy efficiency strengths and identifying areas for improvement, the Self-Scoring Tool can be leveraged by communities to create a clean energy roadmap.

Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
Past Monthly Newsletters: 
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.