Vanderbilt Partners with TVA, NES on Renewable Energy Initiatives
Vanderbilt University will partner with TVA and Nashville Electric Service on a renewable energy procurement project to help achieve the campus’s sustainability and emissions goals. Under this project, Vanderbilt will draw power from a planned solar farm to be built by Silicon Ranch Corp. in Bedford County. The 35 MW farm is expected to become fully operational in 2022 and will offset around 70% of Vanderbilt’s annual, indirect greenhouse gas emissions from purchased electricity.
The partnership is the first of its kind under TVA’s new Green Invest program, which matches demand for green power from large businesses and industrial customers with cost-effective renewable projects. Modeled off of TVA’s previous work with Facebook and Google to identify renewable energy sources for some of the power generator’s largest electricity customers, the program leverages long-term agreements to build new, large-scale renewable energy installations in the Valley through competitive bid processes. Click here to learn more.
ORNL and Industry Partners Advance Building Equipment Energy Efficiency
ORNL has announced plans to collaborate with representatives from the building equipment industry to: improve energy performance in HVAC systems through the use of energy storage and integrated water heating; investigate climate-friendly alternative refrigerants for food and beverage processing, dispensing, and vending; and develop natural gas-powered, micro combined heat and power prototypes for commercial applications. Partners from the National Automatic Merchandising Association, Taylor Commercial Foodservice, Emerson Climate Technologies, Enginuity Power Systems, and Baltimore Aircoil Company have entered into collaborative research and development agreements with ORNL’s Building Technologies Research and Integration Center to execute such projects over the next three years. The technologies and design approaches developed under this collaborative effort will help reduce energy consumption in the building sector, which is one of the nation’s largest energy consuming end-use sectors—for reference, there are approximately 127 million U.S. buildings that collectively consume nearly 40% of the nation’s total energy and account for 36% of U.S. carbon emissions. Click here to learn more.
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 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (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
Participating educators will be provided with energy-related classroom materials, as well as complimentary lodging and meals. Visit 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.
2020 Keeling Curve Prize
Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Keeling Curve Prize, which awards $25,000 to outstanding projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible applicants include those working on active, ongoing projects in the following categories: Social & Cultural Pathways; Energy; Finance; Transport & Mobility; and Capture & Utilization. Two winners will be selected in each category. Applications are due by 6 PM Central on February 9. Click here to view the application form.
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 trail development/enhancement and/or improved 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.
ARC/ORNL Summer Science Academy Accepting Student Applications
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has partnered with ORNL to host the 2020 Summer STEM Program, a hands-on learning experience for high school and middle school students as well as high school teachers in STEM-related fields. Many participants come from economically distressed counties and often gain their first exposure to applied science and STEM education through this experience. Participants receive an all-expenses-paid learning residence at ORNL. Selected students will participate in group science, math, and computer technology research projects, and selected teachers will work with science practitioners to develop STEM-related curriculum. Application materials, participation criteria, and other materials are available at; applications are due by February 28.
U.S. DOE Announces $96 Million in Funding for Bioenergy Research and Development
U.S. DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office announced over $96 million in funding for bioenergy research and development. Projects should reduce the price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower, and/or enable high-value products from biomass or waste resources. Topic areas include, but are not limited to, efficient wood heaters, biopower and products from urban and suburban wastes, biomass to restore natural resources, algae bioproducts, and CO2 direct-air-capture and efficiency. Concept papers are due March 5, and full applications are due April 30. Click here to learn more.
U.S. DOE to Release Funding for Solar Energy Technologies
U.S. DOE recently announced that it will issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to support early-stage research and development of solar technologies that support use and integration of solar into the electric grid. The FOA may support innovative research efforts that lower solar electricity costs to promote energy affordability, securely and reliably integrate more solar energy onto the grid, and enhance the use and storage of solar energy. U.S. DOE anticipates issuing the FOA within the coming weeks. Click here to read the full Notice of Intent.
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.
TAEBC Annual Meeting
The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) will hold its annual meeting at the Schneider Electric Hub in Franklin on March 5. Speakers from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Shell, TDEC OEP, TVA, and Weiss Associates will present on a variety of advanced energy topics, including sustainable energy, transportation electrification, net-zero emissions, and more. Click here to register for the annual meeting.
Register for ACEEE's 2020 Hot Water Forum
Registration is now open for ACEEE’s 2019 Hot Water Forum, to be held March 23-25 in Atlanta. Attendees will network with their peers and gain insight from experts on the latest technologies and techniques for making, distributing, and using hot water. In addition to improving water heating efficiency, these new tools can help stakeholders respond to the evolving energy landscape, which includes smart connected equipment, renewable energy, and carbon reduction. Other event highlights include:
  • Sessions on multifamily hot water systems, grid-connected water heating, and optimal plumbing system design;
  • Presentations exploring how hot water systems fit into city-level policies for greenhouse gas reductions and building electrification;
  • Example utility programs that promote energy-efficient water heating technologies; and
  • Networking opportunities with top experts in the hot water industry.
Suggested attendees include equipment and component manufacturers; water, gas, and electric utilities; local, State, and federal agency personnel; energy efficiency program planners, operators, and evaluators; plumbers and installers; policymakers; non-government organizations; consultants; and more. A discounted conference hotel rate is available at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Midtown until February 20. Visit the Hot Water Forum webpage to learn more about the upcoming event.
2020 Geothermal Design Challenge
U.S. DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office and the Idaho National Laboratory are jointly hosting the 2020 Geothermal Design Challenge: GIS Mapping Student Competition, a challenge for student teams to utilize GIS mapping software to promote understanding and raise awareness about the benefits of geothermal energy technologies. The challenge includes a number of potential geothermal technology topic areas for students to address, including educational strategies, economic impacts, innovations and challenges, the role of GIS in geothermal energy, power generation area identification, and more. Registration for the challenge is now open, and project draft submission will begin on March 30.
ACEEE Accepting Abstracts for Behavior, Energy, & Climate Change Conference
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is accepting abstracts for presentation at the Behavior, Energy, & Climate Change Conference (BECC) 2020, which will take place in Washington, D.C. from December 6-9. BECC invites potential applicants to present on the following: 
  • Encouraging behavior change for energy and carbon savings; 
  • Evaluating such behavior-change programs; 
  • Understanding and predicting why individuals and groups change; and 
  • Promoting improved climate and energy behaviors in fair and equitable ways. 
Presentations may touch on a variety of energy and climate topics, including electrification, utilities, renewables, sustainability programs and strategies, resilience and adaptation, and government policy. Abstracts are due April 1. Click here to submit.
Annual Energy Outlook 2020
The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released its Annual Energy Outlook 2020 (AEO2020), which provides models of domestic energy markets through 2050. It reports on several cases distinguished by different assumptions about macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, and technological progress. This includes the Reference case, which is used to compare assumptions and evaluate trends in projected data. Key takeaways from the AEO2020 Reference case include:
  • U.S. energy consumption grows more slowly than gross domestic product throughout the projection period (through 2050), due, in part, to continued growth in energy efficiency. This helps lower the energy intensity of the U.S. economy. 
  • The U.S. continues to produce historically high levels of crude oil and natural gas. Slow growth in domestic consumption of these fuels leads to increasing exports of crude oil, petroleum products, and liquefied natural gas.
  • After falling during the first half of the projection period, total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions resume modest growth in the 2030s, driven largely by increases in energy demand from the transportation and industrial sectors. By 2050, said emissions remain 4% lower than 2019 levels.
  • The U.S. electricity generation mix continues to experience a rapid rate of change, with renewables being the fastest-growing source of electricity generation through 2050 (due, in part, to continued declines in capital costs for solar and wind, supported by federal tax credits and higher, state-level renewables targets). With slow load growth and increasing electricity production from renewables, U.S. coal-fired and nuclear electricity generation declines, with most of said decline occurring by the mid-2020s.
For more information, visit
U.S. DOE Podcast Highlights Office of Indian Energy, Energy Planning Tools
A recent episode of the podcast, “Direct Current,” showcases how the U.S. DOE Office of Indian Energy (OIE) helps tribes research and develop energy projects to fit their specific needs. One OIE tool highlighted in the podcast, the Tribal Energy Atlas, assists tribal energy project planners, technicians, and investors with analyzing energy options within their jurisdictions. OIE also maintains a Tribal Energy Database that tracks hundreds of energy projects on tribal lands, including projects for renewable power generation or energy efficiency improvements. Learn more about the “Direct Current” podcast and OIE here.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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