Nominations Open for 2022 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards
The Tennessee Departments of Environment and Conservation and Transportation (TDEC and TDOT) invite nominations for the 2022 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards (TSTAs).
The TSTAs recognize outstanding initiatives to improve the efficiency, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability of transportation systems in the state, consistent with ongoing efforts to improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans, provide for a strong economy, and protect and enhance our state’s natural resources. A panel of reviewers representing an array of interests will select award winners based on the following criteria:
  • Innovation – how the project utilized new thinking or creative approaches to meet a particular transportation challenge;
  • Best Practices and Replicability – how the project demonstrates a transferable solution, such that others could adopt or implement similar programs or initiatives;
  • Changes in Transportation Behavior – how a project worked to encourage or achieve changes in transportation behavior in order to make a transportation system more efficient;
  • Improvements to Public Health and Safety – how a project creates improvements to public health, well-being, or safety in a given community;
  • Equity and Access – how the project provides sustainable transportation benefits to all community members and creates accessible mobility solutions for diverse audiences.
Eligible applicants include federal, State (excluding divisions under TDEC and TDOT), and local governments; commercial, nonprofit, and industrial organizations; public and private institutions of higher education; and utilities. The entity must be located in Tennessee and the project must have been completed in the last five years. All nominees must have a minimum of three consecutive, current years of exceptional environmental compliance with TDEC. Self-nominations are encouraged.
More information, including the nomination form, can be found at Nominations are due by August 19. Questions about the awards can be directed to Mark Finlay at or 615-772-6011.
Tennessee Entities to Partner on Second-Life Battery Storage Project
Nissan, Middle Tennessee Electric, the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute, Tennessee State University and Seven States Power Corporation are teaming up to launch an innovative second-life battery storage project. The rapid transition to electric vehicles and the escalating need for energy storage is driving demand for innovative approaches to repurposing used EV batteries to enhance the resilience of America’s electric grid. This partnership seeks to build a solution that can be helpful locally and modeled globally.
Used battery packs from Nissan’s all-electric LEAF – the first mass-produced EV in the U.S. – will be used to construct two Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) at Nissan America’s headquarters in Franklin. The retrieved packs will undergo testing and be assembled in modular, scalable storage systems. The BESS systems will provide supplemental power supply and peak demand shaving for Nissan’s facilities and will also support the Middle Tennessee electric grid.
This project will repurpose Nissan’s used EV batteries, giving them a “second life” as a BESS for the Nissan electrical system. The group will also research how to best reduce energy usage, improve battery life, optimize energy distribution within the system and onto the grid, and house and scale the packs and system. Click here to learn more.
U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation Offering Technical Assistance for EV Charging, Clean School and Transit Buses
The U.S. DOE Joint Office of Energy and Transportation will now provide technical assistance on planning and implementation of a national network of electric vehicle chargers and zero-emission fueling infrastructure as well as zero-emission transit and school buses. Initially, the Joint Office will work with states and key stakeholders to build capacity for electric vehicles, plan for charging infrastructure, and implement approved state plans.
Notably, the Joint Office will provide technical assistance to support entities participating in the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) grant program, which will provide $5.5 billion over five years (2022-2026) to help modernize bus fleets and bus facilities across the country, including to help transit agencies purchase or lease low- or no- emission vehicles that use advanced technologies. Entities currently receiving Low-No funds or planning to apply for Low-No funds can contact the Joint Office for technical assistance to plan for and deploy clean buses.
The Joint Office’s Technical Assistance site includes resources, tools, and outreach channels for states, municipalities, power companies, school districts, transit agencies and more to help organizations take advantage of these major opportunities to promote sustainable transportation and make the transition to cleaner infrastructure and fleets.
UT Police Department Adds Zero-Emission Motorcycles to Fleet
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Police Department has enhanced officers’ abilities to patrol campus by adding two electric motorcycles to its fleet. Officers use the motorcycles to patrol greenways adjacent to campus as well as parking garages and to carefully navigate crowds and traffic during special events like graduation and concerts. Because the energy efficient vehicles can go up and down stairs, they provide officers a unique way to respond to incidents while awaiting backup. Officers also can use the motorcycles during undercover operations and to patrol specific problem areas on and around campus, said Lieutenant Dale Wolf, who supervises the department’s fleet. Click here to see a video of the new motorcycles in action.
Drive Electric TN Annual Stakeholder Town Hall Meeting
The Drive Electric Tennessee (DET) team will hold its second annual DET Stakeholder Town Hall on July 27 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM Eastern. This meeting will provide attendees with the opportunity to ask questions and hear from DET leadership about current and upcoming projects, success stories, and more. The Town Hall will include numerous updates on major DET efforts, projects and initiatives, and participants will hear from stakeholders including the DET Coordinator, project leaders, Working Group Co-Chairs, EV enthusiasts, panelists, and more. Click here to register.
Understanding Electric School Bus Technology and Planning for Infrastructure
The TN BEEP (Bus Electrification, Education and Planning) partnership is providing no-cost education and assistance services to school district leadership and fleet management personnel in Tennessee. Significant funding is coming through U.S. EPA over the next five years. This partnership aims to help any districts that want to "make the switch" to electric school buses.
The partnership will hold a webinar on August 3 from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM Central that will cover charging infrastructure basics, charging strategies for electric school buses, and vital partnerships that ensure successful charging station implementation.
Speakers on this free webinar will include representatives from TVA and BrightRidge, and attendance is encouraged for school districts and local power companies interested in adopting electric buses. Register for the webinar here. Learn more about BEEP at Apply for Clean School Bus Program funds at
TN Smart Mobility Expo
TennSMART will hold the inaugural Tennessee Smart Mobility Expo from August 4-6 at the Music City Center in Nashville. Attendees will hear from industry leaders who are charting the future of smart mobility innovations. The three-day event will feature roundtable discussions, panels, and on-site technology showcases from major automotive manufacturers, transportation and logistics companies, and research institutions. Additionally, those who attend will have dedicated time to network with industry colleagues. The morning of August 6 will feature a public showcase of transportation technologies being researched, developed, and deployed in Tennessee. Registration may be accessed here:
Considering Quality of Life in Transportation Planning and Development
There is a direct relationship between transportation investments and community resilience, equity, and sustainability. The Transportation Research Board will host a webinar on August 25 from 12:30 to 2:00 PM Eastern that will explore how transportation agencies and state departments of transportation (DOTs) have ensured that quality-of-life considerations are comprehensively incorporated into community planning and project development processes through guidebooks, procedures, best practice research, and training. Presenters will also highlight experiences with developing and refining resources designed to incorporate community resources and impacts into transportation decision-making and project planning processes. Click here to register.
Save the Date: Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum & Expo
TDEC, TDOT, and Tennessee Clean Fuels will hold the eighth annual Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum & Expo (STF&E) on November 8-9 at the UT Conference Center in downtown Knoxville, returning the event to an in-person format for the first time since 2019. 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.
This year, STF&E will be preceded by the inaugural Drive Electric TN Momentum Summit on November 7, which will include an electric vehicle ride & drive event, an EV showcase, and expert panels. Stay tuned for additional information, including registration and agenda, for both STF&E and the Momentum Summit.
Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently announced the opportunity to apply for approximately $13 million in Fiscal Year 2021 and 2022 funding under the Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning. The Pilot Program intends to fund comprehensive planning that supports economic development, increased transit ridership, multimodal connectivity, accessibility, increased transit access for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and mixed-use and mixed-income development near transit stations; delivers 40% of the overall benefits of the planning work to Historically Disadvantaged Communities; and addresses climate change, challenges facing environmental justice populations, and homelessness. The Pilot Program also encourages the identification of infrastructure needs and engagement with the private sector.
Eligible applicants include States, U.S. Territories, and local government authorities that are existing FTA grant recipients. Project proposals must be submitted by July 25. Click here to see more information and to apply.
U.S. EPA Clean School Bus Rebates
Authorized by the recently signed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion over the next five years to replace school buses with low- and zero-emission school buses. The first funding opportunity under this program is the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates. EPA is offering $500 million in rebates for zero-emission and clean school buses (including those with battery-electric, compressed natural gas, or propane drivetrains) to replace vehicle model year 2010 or older diesel school buses. The program will offer rebates of between $15,000 and $375,000 per bus for up to 25 buses per applicant, as well as between $13,000 and $20,000 for any associated charging infrastructure, depending on the class and fuel type of the new bus(es) and whether the applicant meets prioritization criteria (under this program, EPA will prioritize applicants that are high-need school districts, are located in low-income or rural areas, or are tribal entities).
Eligible applicants include:
  • State and local governmental entities that provide bus service, including school districts;
  • Eligible contractors, which include for-profit, not-for-profit, or nonprofit entities that have the capacity to sell clean or zero-emission school buses or related charging or fueling infrastructure to school bus owners or arrange financing for such a sale;
  • Nonprofit school transportation associations; and
  • Indian tribes, tribal organizations, or tribally controlled schools responsible for the purchase of school buses or providing school bus service for a Bureau of Indian Affairs funded school.
EPA will hold a webinar on July 27 to highlight how to apply for the program; the webinar will include a live Q&A session. Click here to register. Full applications are due August 19 through EPA’s Clean School Bus Rebate Form. To see full program details and instructions on how to apply, access the program guide here.
To support prioritized and eligible school districts and their local power companies (LPCs) in its service territory, TVA will host weekly office hours with the intent to help connect applicants and their LPCs with more localized assistance and resources beyond what will be offered by EPA’s office hours. These will be hosted once per week via Zoom, alternating between Tuesdays at 12:30 PM Central and Wednesdays at 9:00 AM Central through August 16. Click here for the Tuesday session Zoom link, and here for the Wednesday session link.
Community Bike Challenge Program 2022
The Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation has announced the return of its Community Bike Challenge Program. Local bicycle clubs, community bicycle programs, and other not-for-profit and nonprofit organizations are encouraged to submit proposals for projects that promote bicycling as a safe and healthy form of recreation and transportation. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. Questions and requests for additional information can be directed via e-mail to or by phone to 865-309-4008. Click here to access the full application.
Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program – Planning Grants and Capital Construction Grants
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has established the new Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) discretionary grant program, funded with $1 billion over the next 5 years. It is the first-ever program to help reconnect communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure. Funding supports planning grants and capital construction grants, as well as technical assistance, to restore community connectivity through the removal, retrofit, mitigation, or replacement of eligible transportation infrastructure facilities. Eligible facilities include highways, including roads, streets, or parkways or other transportation facilities, such as rail lines, that create a barrier to community connectivity, including barriers to mobility, access, or economic development, due to high speeds, grade separations, or other design factors.
For planning grants, eligible entities include states, local government, federally recognized Tribal governments, metropolitan planning organizations, and nonprofit organizations. Eligible planning activities include:
  • planning studies of current traffic patterns on the eligible facility proposed for removal, retrofit, or mitigation and the surrounding street network; transportation network capacity; alternative roadway designs or other uses for the right-of-way; impacts to the mobility of freight and people; impacts to the safety of the traveling public; cost; anticipated economic impacts and environmental impacts both human and natural;
  • public engagement activities to provide the public opportunities to provide input into a plan to remove and convert an eligible facility; and
  • other transportation planning activities required in advance of a project to remove, retrofit, or mitigate an existing eligible facility to restore community connectivity, as determined by DOT.
For capital construction grants, eligible entities include facility owners and partnerships between facility owners and other entities listed as eligible planning grant recipients. Eligible capital construction projects include removal, retrofit, or mitigation of an existing eligible facility; or replacement of an eligible facility with a new facility that restores community connectivity and is sensitive to the context of the surrounding community.
U.S. DOT held a webinar to provide a general overview of the RCP discretionary grant program for prospective applicants, including elements of the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and the evaluation criteria. Click here to view the recording (password: i6X7uTW&). Full applications for funding are due through by October 13. Please contact with questions.
U.S. DOE Vehicle Technologies Office Issues Notice of Intent for FY22 Program Wide Funding
The U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Vehicle Technology Office, a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) entitled “Fiscal Year 2022 Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide FOA”.
The activities to be funded under this anticipated FOA will support the government-wide approach to the climate crisis by driving the innovation that can lead to the deployment of clean energy technologies, which are critical for climate protection. Specifically, this FOA will advance research, development, demonstration, and deployment in several areas critical to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including: advancement of electric drive technologies using less rare-earth metals, reduction of weight of battery electric vehicle technologies, electrification of non-road vehicles, improvements in off-road vehicle charging, improved efficiency of engines using low-carbon fuels, and deployment of these technologies among diverse communities.
Click here to access the full Notice of Intent.
2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report
U.S DOE recently released the 2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER). USEER is a comprehensive study designed to track and understand employment within key energy sectors. The analysis shows that energy jobs grew 4.0% from 2020 to 2021, from a total number of 7.5 million energy jobs in 2020 to 7.8 million in 2021. This growth rate outpaced the overall U.S. employment growth rate of 2.8% in the same period. Furthermore, in Tennessee, energy jobs represented 6.7% of all state employment and 2.6% of all energy jobs in the U.S.

Electric and hybrid vehicle jobs experienced a notable increase of 25%, with electric vehicle jobs growing by 26.2% and hybrid vehicle jobs by 19.7%. With a growth rate of 19%, Tennessee was surpassed only by Texas for the most growth in motor vehicle jobs. View all details in the full report at; view state-by-state information here.

Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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