Tennessee Entities Receive Funding to Increase Building Energy Efficiency and Cut Consumers’ Energy Bills
U.S. DOE recently awarded $82.6 million in funding to 44 projects that will lower Americans’ energy bills and help meet the Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The projects will improve building energy efficiency through innovations in thermal energy storage; building envelopes; lighting; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); refrigeration; and water heating. These projects will also bolster America’s energy efficiency workforce with trainings, educational programs, and other technical support.

Among the selected projects are two led by Tennessee-based organizations:
  • Ultrasonic Technology Solutions, based in Knoxville, will develop a vibrational defrosting system to remove ice from the evaporator in a refrigerator. By replacing current refrigerator defrosting technology that uses heat, this system will reduce energy use and allow the refrigerator to maintain a more consistent temperature.
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, based in Oak Ridge, will use state-of-the-art simulation tools and machine learning to develop novel insulation materials that exceed R-10/in. without vacuum at a competitive cost per R. For reference, R-value measures how well building insulation can prevent the flow of heat into and out of a building. A higher R-value means greater insulation performance and more energy savings.

Click here to see a full list of the selected projects.
Tennessee Selected For 2022-2026 Industrial Assessment Center Award
U.S. DOE recently announced $60 million for 32 higher education institutions located in 28 states across the country to set up and operate regional Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs). The centers will provide site-specific recommendations to small manufacturers with opportunities to improve productivity, secure information, reduce waste, and save energy while providing training for undergraduate and graduate engineering students in manufacturing processes, energy assessment procedures, and energy management systems.

Tennessee will continue operations of its award-winning IACs through 2026 under this recent DOE announcement. Launched in 2006, the TN IACs at Tennessee Tech University and the University of Memphis have identified an average of $100,000 in cost savings per assessment and have provided manufacturers in the program with $27.48 million in recommended cost savings as of 2019. Small and medium sized industrial facilities in Tennessee that meet the eligibility criteria may receive no cost assessments to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. For more information, contact TN IAC Coordinator Michelle Davis at
TVA to Continue Providing Pandemic Relief Credit Through FY2022
At its August meeting, the TVA Board of Directors voted to continue providing assistance to communities and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Pandemic Recovery Credit was extended through Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2022 (October 1, 2021-September 30, 2022), with the possibility to extend into FFY 2023. This initiative provides a monthly 2.5% wholesale power cost credit to each of the 153 local power companies that TVA serves, as well as to TVA directly-served customers and large customers served by said local power companies. The extension is predicted to result in an additional credit of $220 million. The Board also approved an additional $5 million in contributions to the Community Care Fund, bringing its total donations to $9 million in support of local organizations that assist those in need.
Through the extended Pandemic Relief Credit and other community outreach measures, TVA anticipates contributing over $600 million directly to the region's economic recovery and future growth by the end of FY2022. During the first three quarters of FY2021, TVA's economic development efforts helped create or retain over 65,000 jobs and $7.8 billion in capital investments for the region.
2021-2022 Better Buildings Webinar Series
U.S. DOE Better Buildings has announced its 2021-2022 Webinar Series, which will run from September through April 2022. This series aims to address some of the most pressing topics facing building energy professionals, with experts leading conversations on proven best practices, cost effectiveness strategies, and innovative ways to approach sustainability and energy performance.
The first webinar in the series, titled “Internal Engagement and Communication: Sharing Your Energy Vision”, will take place on September 14 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern and will discuss how organizations can share their energy efficiency vision with employees and engage them in contributing to that vision.
The following webinar, titled “Kick the Tires: Understanding the Role of R&D in the Deployment of Building Energy Technologies”, will take place on September 21 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern. This webinar will explore real-world examples of technologies developed by U.S. DOE and the National Labs. Participants will learn about U.S. DOE’s ongoing efforts and opportunities to collaborate with the department.
Click here for the full webinar schedule.
TVA Connected Communities: Call for Pilots
TVA recently launched a call for pilot project proposals under its Connected Communities grant program, with the goal of equitably improving the quality of life for communities in the TN Valley through innovative solutions with broad-range opportunities and applicability. Non-profits, businesses, governments, local power companies, and others served by TVA are invited to submit innovative pilot ideas that address one of the three Connected Communities focus areas—Equitable Access to Services, Economic Empowerment, and Energy & Environmental Justice. Approximately $3 million will be available to fund projects in each of the three Connected Communities focus areas. At least one pilot per focus area will be funded, and the maximum award amount will be $1 million per pilot.
Additional detail on the three focus areas is included below:
  1. Equitable Access to Services. Pilot ideas should be aimed at addressing the digital divide and gaps in broadband connectivity, including by increasing access to online platforms and services, internet-enabled devices, and tools to help build digital literacy and empowerment.
  2. Economic Empowerment. Pilot ideas should be aimed at helping communities increase awareness of and access to emerging career pathways for next generation jobs and equipping the workforce with the technology and data skills needed to make Connected Communities possible.
  3. Energy & Environmental Justice. Pilot ideas should be aimed at finding new ways to promote grid interactive technologies, maximize access to and adoption of clean energy technologies, and address environmental and public health outcomes through digitally connected devices, sensors, and data analytics.
Applications for the first focus area, Equitable Access to Services, are due September 30. Applications for the second and third focus areas, Economic Empowerment and Energy & Environmental Justice, are due October 20.
To learn more about this opportunity and access community resources and details about the evaluation criteria, visit or email Click here to apply.
STEM Talent Challenge
The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced the launch of the STEM Talent Challenge to support programs to train science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) talent and fuel regional innovation economies across the nation. The $2 million program will provide funding for work-and-learn programs to increase America’s STEM-capable workforce in emerging and transformative sectors such as space commerce, aeronautics, digital manufacturing, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and cybersecurity. Competition applicants may request up to $250,000 for implementation of a 24-month workforce development program that complements their region’s innovation economy. The deadline to apply is October 12. Click here to access the full Notice of Funding Opportunity. Click here to apply. 
2021 Tennessee Valley Solar Conference + Storage
The Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA) will host the Tennessee Valley Solar Conference + Storage on October 13 in Franklin. The focus of the Tennessee Valley Solar Conference is to bring together people interested in growing solar business opportunities in the Tennessee Valley to discuss strategies, market trends, and policies that impact the solar industry. Attendees will participate in in-depth and forward-looking discussions on TVA policy and processes and evolving technical opportunities facing the industry in the Tennessee Valley region.
This year’s agenda includes a fireside chat with representatives from TVA, Amazon, and Nashville-based solar company Silicon Ranch on the intersection of solar and jobs in the Tennessee Valley. The conference will also feature panels focused on the tools needed to maximize flexibility for local power companies, federal actions and market transformation, TVA’s Green Invest program, issues and opportunities with residential and small commercial solar, utility battery and storage safety, the benefits of distributed solar, and electric vehicle infrastructure.
The conference will include a livestream option for those who wish to attend the event remotely. Visit to learn more. Click here to register.
U.S. DOE Launches Cohorts to Implement Energy Management Systems
Four U.S. DOE offices are offering free, tailored technical assistance to industrial, commercial, and federal sites as they implement business practices based on the global gold standard for energy management, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 50001. ISO 50001 helps organizations develop a more integrated energy strategy to meet productivity, competitiveness, and decarbonization goals. Since its inception in 2017, U.S. DOE’s 50001 Ready program has helped organizations across diverse sectors implement comprehensive energy management practices and continually improve their existing systems. Cohort participants receive 6 to 12 months of support from national experts delivered through webinars, coaching sessions, and peer-to-peer learning.
Based on the success of the first virtual cohort launched by the Federal Energy Management Program in 2020 for federal agencies, three other U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offices have formed sector-based cohorts for manufacturing, hospitality, and wastewater utility sites. 50001 Ready’s free cohort technical assistance is open to energy management teams from U.S.-based industrial, commercial, and institutional sites committed to meeting the global ISO 50001 energy management standard. To learn more and join the program, please send an e-mail to
NREL State, Local, and Tribal Technical Support Services Agreement
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently announced it will offer a new streamlined, cost-effective, and customizable contract service designed to assist State and local governments in navigating the complexities of clean energy planning and deployment. As more states and local jurisdictions prioritize clean energy projects to meet national and global climate targets, the new State, Local, and Tribal Technical Support Services Agreement provides energy planners and decision makers with direct access to national lab expertise, tools, and analysis to inform data-drive, actionable energy decisions.
This program is available for planners at all stages throughout clean energy initiatives and offers timely decision support at pricing starting as low as $2,000. Click here to view a summary fact sheet of this technical support service. For additional information, see the service’s webpage or contact
TAEBC Releases 2021 Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report
Every three years, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) releases an Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report to provide context for decisions by public officials and private sector leaders to make lasting contributions to Tennessee’s economic base for the next decade and beyond. Advanced energy refers to any technology that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure, and more efficient. It includes manufacturers and companies that use advanced energy technologies, as well as professional service providers, researchers, and entrepreneurs. TAEBC’s recently released 2021 Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report further defines the scope of Tennessee’s robust advanced energy sector with updated stats that quantify Tennessee’s advanced energy economic impact, including the following stats based on 2019 County Business Patterns (CBP) data from the U.S. Census Bureau (the most recent data available):
  • Tennessee’s average advanced energy sector salary is much higher than the state’s overall average salary ($63,586 compared to $47,688). With nearly 394,000 employees at 20,340 advanced energy establishments statewide, total payroll spending amounts to $25.0 billion.
  • By 2019, the advanced energy sector experienced employment growth at a pace higher than overall employment growth (10% compared to 5.1%). Total advanced energy establishments in Tennessee have risen by 11.9%, annual payroll expenditures have increased by 9.9%, and state GDP is up 8.2% since 2016.
  • The advanced energy sector is vitally important to the Tennessee economy, accounting for $45.8 billion in state GDP in 2019—12.2% of total state GDP for that year.
  • The more than 16,000 electric vehicles produced in Tennessee each year accounts for nearly 40% of the Southeast’s EV manufacturing jobs. In fact, Tennessee ranks number one in the Southeast for EV manufacturing. To date, TNECD reports there has been over $6.2 billion in capital investment from EV projects, over 19,700 Tennesseans employed by companies with EV operations, and over 4,200 new job commitments.
Click here to access the report.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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