Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Signed into Law
On November 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law H.R. 3684, the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” which reauthorizes surface transportation programs for five years (through Fiscal Year 2026); provides for a one-time transfer of funds from the General Fund into the Highway Trust Fund; authorizes programs for water, energy, and broadband infrastructure; and provides emergency supplemental appropriations. 

The White House has compiled a fact sheet stating that this legislation will:
  • Deliver clean water to all American families and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines.
  • Ensure every American has access to reliable high-speed internet.  
  • Repair and rebuild U.S. roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users. 
  • Improve transportation options for millions of Americans and reduce greenhouse emissions through the largest investment in public transit in U.S. history. 
  • Upgrade the nation’s airports and ports to strengthen U.S. supply chains and prevent disruptions that have caused inflation. 
  • Make the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak.
  • Build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers, in addition to bolstering other alternative fueling networks (e.g., propane, compressed and liquefied natural gas, hydrogen) along major U.S. interstates and highways.
  • Upgrade U.S. power infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable energy across the country and deploy cutting-edge energy technology to achieve a zero-emissions future.  
  • Make U.S. infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events.
  • Deliver the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history by cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mines, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells.
Click here to read more. 
Rock City Adds Solar Canopy to Highlight Green Energy
Chattanooga-area attraction Rock City recently unveiled a solar canopy at its entrance to help educate visitors on the natural appeal and potential of solar energy. Seven States Power Corporation aided in the design and development of the solar arbor, which is similar to the solar canopy and battery storage microgrid the company helped install last year in front of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The Rock City solar array, which was installed by Nashville-based Lightwave Solar, will generate approximately 16,800 kWh of electricity annually, or enough to power about 40 standard refrigerators.
2021 IMPACT Tennessee Award Winners Announced
The U.S. Green Building Council IMPACT Awards program recognizes statewide innovation and leadership in green buildings. This month, an event featuring TDEC Commissioner David Salyers as keynote speaker celebrated the extraordinary projects and people who are contributing to a more sustainably built Tennessee. This year’s winners in each category included:
Click here to learn more about the award winners and their efforts to promote green buildings and community development.
EIA: Natural Gas Supply Below Average, Oil Prices to Decline in 2022 
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the amount of working natural gas in storage among the Lower 48 states reached its then-lowest point in March 2021 at 1,760 billion cubic feet (Bcf), or 4% below the previous five-year average. By mid-September 2021, storage levels were 7% below the five-year average. According to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA expects U.S. working natural gas to total 1,486 Bcf at the end of March 2022, or 12% less than the previous five-year average for that time of year. This inventory may change significantly due both to demand from cold weather and supply conditions as natural gas producers respond to higher prices.
Since the third quarter of 2020, global consumption of crude oil and petroleum products has increased faster than production, which has caused lower inventory levels and higher crude oil prices. EIA forecasts global crude oil demand will exceed global supply through the end of the year, contribute to some additional inventory draws, and keep the Brent crude oil price above $80 per barrel ($80/b) through December 2021. However, EIA forecasts that global oil inventories will begin growing in 2022, driven by rising production from OPEC+ countries and the United States and slowing growth in global oil demand. EIA expects that this shift will put downward pressure on the Brent price, which will average $72/b during 2022.
To learn more about energy consumption and production in Tennessee—including consumption by energy source, end-use sector, and electricity consumption—see Tennessee’s EIA State Energy Profile here.
2021-2022 Better Buildings Webinar Series
U.S. DOE Better Buildings has announced its 2021-2022 Webinar Series, which will run 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 “Assessing and Reducing Embodied Carbon,” will take place on December 7 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern and will highlight real-world examples of building owners and designers tackling embodied carbon and exploring life-cycle assessments, building design, and renovation to reduce CO2 emissions.
The following webinar, titled “Roadmap to 50% Carbon Reductions in Multifamily Housing,” will take place on December 16 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern and will inform attendees about challenges and opportunities for reducing carbon in multifamily buildings and how multifamily organizations can begin to set carbon goals and plan efficiency strategies.
Click here for the full webinar schedule.
Opportunities in Energy 2021
The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) will hold its annual Opportunities in Energy event on December 8 at 12:00 PM Central. This virtual event will feature panels on a wide range of advanced energy topics, including the newly-announced Blue Oval City in Memphis, accelerators in clean tech development, and how corporations can meet Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals. The event will also include a presentation on the 2021 Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report. Featured speakers include representatives from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, TVA, UT-Knoxville, Verizon, Ford, and more. Click here to register.
TREEDC 2021 Annual Conference
The Tennessee Renewable Energy & Economic Development Council (TREEDC) will hold its annual conference at Tennessee Tech University from December 9-10. This year’s conference will include a panel on post-pandemic economic recovery resources, COVID-19 assistance programs, and lessons learned from Tennessee local government leaders. A second panel will feature speakers from TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, TVA, and Cooley Public Strategies to discuss opportunities in renewable energy and green infrastructure in Tennessee. The event will also recognize 2021 TREEDC Champion Award winners and will feature exhibitors, networking opportunities, and introductions to start-up companies that are part of the TREEDC network. Click here to access the conference agenda. Click here to register. 
U.S. DOE Announces New Communities LEAP Opportunity
On September 15, U.S. DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm introduced the Communities Local Energy Action Program (LEAP), a new pilot to facilitate sustained, community-wide economic and environmental benefits. This opportunity is specifically open to low-income, energy-burdened communities that are also experiencing either direct environmental justice impacts or economic impacts caused by a shift away from historical reliance on fossil fuels. Under the Communities LEAP Pilot, U.S. DOE will provide supportive services valued at up to $16M for community-driven clean energy transitions.
This initiative is designed to provide communities with a single application to access technical assistance from many different U.S. DOE programs. Communities can identify multiple pathways of interest for clean energy-related economic development, including Renewable Energy Planning and Development, Energy Efficient Buildings and Beneficial Electrification Planning and Investment, Clean Transportation Planning and Investment, Carbon Capture and Storage, Energy Site Reclamation and Critical Minerals Processing, Community Resilience Microgrids, and New or Enhanced Manufacturing. Once the communities have been selected for technical assistance, U.S. DOE will match the communities with appropriate technical assistance providers and provide funding to the technical assistance providers to work with the selected communities.
Details on technical assistance (what it is, how to access support, etc.) can be found in the Opportunity Announcement (page 2 and Appendix A). More information on Communities LEAP can be found here: Communities LEAP applications are due December 17.
U.S. DOE FY 2022 SBIR/STTR Phase 1 Release 2 Topics Issued
U.S. DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs encourage U.S. small businesses to engage in high-risk, innovative research and technology development with the potential for future commercialization. The programs award projects in technology areas across the entire department, including cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, solar, vehicle technologies, bioenergy, building technologies, and more.
SBIR/STTR Phase I awards are up to $200,000 for performance periods of six months to one year. Expected topics for the FY 2022 Phase I release can be found here. A full Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will be released December 13 on the SBIR funding opportunities site. Applicants new to the U.S. DOE SBIR/STTR programs are encouraged to attend the upcoming topic and FOA webinar on December 17 (registration information coming soon). Letters of Intent to apply are due January 3 and full applications are due February 22. Click here to learn more.
American-Made Challenges Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize
Through the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize, U.S. DOE aims to fund organizations for ongoing and/or proposed activities related to climate and clean energy that build trust, support relationships, and strengthen and partnerships with disadvantaged communities. Specifically, this prize seeks to enable business and technology incubation, acceleration, and other community- and university-based entrepreneurship and innovation in climate and clean energy technologies.
Through this prize, a total prize pool of up to $2.5 million across two phases will be shared by organizations that:
  • Are community-centric and have experience in successfully engaging with disadvantaged communities;
  • Promote environmental, climate, and energy justice;
  • Demonstrate strong community ties;
  • Can use their experience to serve as bridges between U.S. DOE and disadvantaged communities; and
  • Support clean energy grassroots innovation related to technology advancement in climate and clean energy with a focused impact on disadvantaged communities.
Applications for this prize are due on February 25 at 5:00 PM Eastern. Click here to access the prize rules. Click here to apply.
U.S. DOE Better Buildings Tools and Resources
U.S. DOE Better Buildings has created a number of useful toolkits for its Better Buildings Solution Center to assist building owners and managers, government agencies, and businesses and corporations in becoming leaders in energy innovation. These toolkits provide best practices for making the nation’s homes, commercial buildings, and industrial plants more energy-efficient:
Low Carbon Technology Strategies – This new toolkit offers guidance to building owners and operators on how to achieve deep carbon reductions in existing buildings with a primary focus on retrofits and operational strategies.
Clean Energy for Low-Income Communities (CELICA) – This toolkit features lessons learned from the Better Buildings Accelerator’s $335 million commitment to assist low-income, energy-burdened households in accessing energy efficiency and renewable energy benefits and includes a guide to program development and replicable program models for single-family and multifamily housing.
Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) – This collection of resources enables state and local communities to benefit from the experience of partners who have successfully established and implemented performance contracting. It includes best practices and innovative approaches that states, cities, and K-12 schools have used. Users can easily find the information they need at each stage of their ESPC decision-making process.
Click here to visit the Better Buildings Solution Center and discover more resources.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
Past Monthly Newsletters: 
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.