Tennessee Facilities Receive U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Certification
U.S. EPA recently announced that 93 U.S. manufacturing plants earned the agency’s ENERGY STAR certification in 2021. ENERGY STAR certified plants are verified to be among the most energy-efficient plants within their industries. Together, these plants prevented more than 5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from the industrial sector, which is responsible for nearly a third of U.S. GHGs.
Included among these manufacturing plants are seven located in Tennessee:
  • Beiersdorf North America, Cleveland (pharmaceutical)
  • Buzzi Unicem USA, Chattanooga (cement manufacturing)
  • Crown Bakeries, Dickson (commercial bread and roll baking)
  • Crown Bakeries, Nashville (commercial bread and roll baking)
  • Nissan North America, Decherd (automobile engine manufacturing)
  • Nissan North America, Smyrna (automobile assembly)
  • Tate & Lyle, Loudon (corn refining)
Together, the 93 plants avoided nearly 90 trillion Btus of energy consumption and prevented emissions equal to the annual energy use of nearly 650,000 American homes. Since the program began in 2006, ENERGY STAR certified plants have cumulatively saved manufacturers more than $7 billion on energy bills when compared to average-performing facilities. Click here to learn more about ENERGY STAR plant certification.
U.S. DOE Launches Better Climate Challenge, City of Knoxville to Partner
Under the newly-launched Better Climate Challenge, U.S. DOE is tasking participating organizations to set an ambitious, portfolio-wide GHG reduction goal—reduce emissions by at least 50% within 10 years. U.S. DOE will provide technical assistance and opportunities to learn and share actionable best practices amongst the participants to accelerate carbon reduction.

As a partner in the Better Climate Challenge, the City of Knoxville is committing to a 50% reduction in GHG emissions across its 2.06 million square foot portfolio (encompassing 87 public buildings) by 2030. The City pledges to demonstrate savings and lessons learned from energy projects with other partners and the greater community at large. Through Knoxville’s Energy and Sustainability Work Plan, the City has mapped out policies and programs that will reduce excess energy consumption and standardize environmentally sustainable best practices. Through the creation and management of the City’s Energy Savings Performance Contract, the City’s Finance and Purchasing Departments have invested in energy efficiency to reduce long-term utility costs. The City has tracked GHGs since 2005 and has set these ambitious climate goals to ensure a sustainable future that protects the environment while also improving the quality of life for all citizens.

ORNL Receives Funding for Energy-Efficient Building Retrofit Demonstration
U.S. DOE is awarding $31.8 million under the Advanced Building Construction program for seven project teams that will demonstrate how advanced construction techniques integrated with energy-efficient technologies and practices can seed next-generation, whole-building retrofit approaches that reduce thermal energy loads by at least 50-75%. ORNL—in collaboration with the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Knoxville's Community Development Corporation, LG, The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, Pella, Composite Alliance Group, and DB Technologies—will demonstrate a modular, exterior panel retrofit solution with advanced manufacturing techniques on 12 single-family attached duplexes as well as at one small commercial site. The project applies a rapid measurement of home facades, an easy-to-install panel design, and state-of-the-art HVAC equipment and controls. This team seeks to demonstrate a pathway to unleash high-quality and affordable energy-efficient buildings in the local area at an installed cost of $15 per square foot.
KUB Signs Contract with Solar Alliance for 1 MW Knoxville Solar Project
Solar Alliance Energy Inc. and the Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) have signed a contract for the design and installation of a 1 MW community solar project, the first of its kind in Knoxville. Solar Alliance will design, engineer, and install the project, which is scheduled to begin construction in April 2022 and will be completed by August 2022. The announcement of this project comes after KUB previously announced that 20% of Knoxville’s electricity will be generated from solar energy through KUB’s participation in the TVA Green Invest program. In total, KUB will secure enough solar energy to power about 83,000 homes.
DOE Announces $5 Million to Launch Lithium-Battery Workforce Initiative
U.S. DOE, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, announced the launch of a national workforce development strategy for lithium-battery manufacturing. As part of a $5 million investment, U.S. DOE will support up to five pilot training programs in energy and automotive communities and advance workforce partnerships between industry and labor for the domestic lithium battery supply chain. Lithium batteries power everything from EVs to consumer electronics and are a critical component for whole-of-government decarbonization strategies. This workforce initiative will support the nation’s global competitiveness within battery manufacturing while strengthening the domestic economy and clean energy supply chains.

The pilot training programs will bring together manufacturing companies, organized labor, and training providers to lay the foundation for the development of a broad national workforce strategy. The pilots will support industry-labor cooperation and will provide sites for job task analyses and the documentation of worker competencies. Insights gained will support the development of national industry-recognized credentials and inform the development of broader training programs to support the overall battery supply chain. This initiative comes as part of a suite of announcements from President Biden’s Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, a partnership among the White House and nearly a dozen federal agencies committed to pursuing near- and long-term actions to support coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities as the nation transitions to a clean energy economy.
Deploying Solar with Wildlife and Ecosystem Services Benefits (SolWEB)
U.S. DOE recently announced the Deploying Solar with Wildlife and Ecosystem Services Benefits (SolWEB) funding opportunity, which will award $10 million for innovative solutions and strategies that maximize benefits and minimize impacts to wildlife and ecosystems from solar energy infrastructure. U.S. DOE is interested in projects that will produce results with broad relevance to solar stakeholders by establishing methods, technologies, models, best management practices, or resources that facilitate ground-mounted photovoltaic energy generation, including utility-scale and community solar, or concentrating solar-thermal power that is compatible with surrounding wildlife. The department is also interested in assessing and optimizing ecosystem benefits that solar energy facilities can provide, such as soil formation, pollination of food crops, and carbon sequestration. These research activities will help reduce barriers, costs, and timelines for the deployment of large-scale solar energy necessary to meet the Biden Administration’s goals for achieving a decarbonized electricity sector by 2035.
U.S. DOE hosted an informational webinar on March 8 to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. Click here to view a recording of the webinar (password: Solweb2022). Concept papers under this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) are due April 11, and full applications are due June 20. Click here to access the full FOA and teaming partner list. For FOA-specific support, contact
Rural Energy Pilot Program
The Rural Energy Pilot Program (REPP) offers grant assistance to Rural Energy Community Partnerships (RECPs) to develop renewable energy that can meet the nation’s energy needs and combat emissions while prioritizing environmental justice, racial equity, and economic opportunity. RECPs may be comprised of, but are not limited to, nonprofit entities, State and local entities, tribal entities, municipalities, and other public bodies. Funding may be used to support community energy planning, capacity building, and technical assistance; community efficiency and weatherization; and installation of community-scale renewable energy technologies and systems. Eligible rural areas include any area that is not:
  • a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants; or
  • the urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town, as defined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census using the latest decennial census of the U.S.
Selected projects will receive up to 80% of total eligible costs, not to exceed $2 million for grant terms of three years. Applicants are encouraged to review all application materials found in the REPP Notice of Funding Opportunity. The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent to apply is April 19, and full applications will be due July 18. Click here to review Letter of Intent requirements and other important REPP information.
Nashville Earth Day 2022
Nashville Earth Day returns to the Bandshell at Centennial Park on April 23 from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM Central. This free family event brings the Nashville community together to celebrate our planet, inspire positive environmental change, and support sustainable small businesses and nonprofits. Throughout the event, the Nashville Tree Foundation will distribute 500 trees to attendees, including varieties like red maple, white oak, sweetbay magnolia, American yellowwood, and flowering cherry. The event will also feature live music, kids activities centered on environmental friendliness and sustainability, educational presentations and booths from nonprofit and government agencies (including TDEC), and a local Grower & Makers market for attendees to shop for recycled, reused, up-cycled, and natural products from sustainable small businesses. Click here to learn more event details.
Drivers and Environmental Impacts of Energy Transitions in Underserved Communities
The transition to low-carbon, renewable, efficient energy technologies provides both challenges and opportunities for improving environmental and public health while reducing the inequities from current energy and transportation systems, such as the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on low-income communities and communities of color. U.S. EPA, as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications proposing community-engaged research that will address the drivers and environmental impacts of energy transitions in underserved communities.
U.S. EPA is looking for applications that address some or all of the following research areas:
  1. Understanding how air quality, the environment, and public health in underserved communities might be improved through transformation of the energy sector;
  2. Identifying approaches or strategies to ensure that energy transitions provide air quality benefits and reduce environmental risks while meeting the energy and transportation needs of underserved communities;
  3. Understanding how socioeconomic, cultural, behavioral, institutional, and systems factors drive individual and household decisions regarding the adoption of renewable energy sources, energy-efficient technologies and building modifications, and new transportation modes in underserved communities;
  4. Understanding how socioeconomic, organizational, and institutional factors affect decisions at the organization, governmental, and community levels regarding the adoption and diffusion of renewable energy sources, energy-efficient technologies, building modifications, and new transportation modes in underserved communities; and
  5. Identifying and evaluating potential multi-pollutant and/or multi-sectoral approaches to achieving climate, air quality, and other environmental goals while maximizing potential positive impacts as well as minimizing potential negative impacts to underserved communities arising from large-scale energy systems transformation.
Eligible entities include public and private nonprofit institutions/organizations; public and private institutions of higher education; hospitals located in the U.S. and its territories; state and local governments; Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments; and U.S. territories. Full applications are due April 28. Click here for more information on how to apply.
OEP Accepting Applications for K-12 Energy Education Camp 
TDEC OEP plans to conduct an Energy Education Camp for K-12 educators in 2022. The Camp is comprised of a three-day training sessions and provides 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. The 2022 Camp will be hosted June 21-23 at Montgomery Bell State Park.

Energy Education Camps are offered free of charge. All participating educators will receive $200 in materials to teach energy education topics in the classroom or at afterschool programs. Educators will also receive a certificate of participation for professional development hours. Applications are due by April 29. Please refer to for program information and details regarding the application submission process. For questions about the Camps program or OEP’s other K-12 Energy Education activities, please contact Angela McGee at or 615-532-7816.

New Toolkit for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE)
U.S. DOE’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Toolkit is a four-part compilation of resources that state and local governments can use to navigate barriers and benefit from C-PACE financing. By leveraging the toolkit, state and local governments can make more informed decisions and ensure their C-PACE programs achieve public purpose objectives.
Resources in the toolkit include:
Visit the State and Local Solution Center website to explore the toolkit.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
Past Monthly Newsletters: 
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