On Wednesday, June 17, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council released an impact report on Tennessee’s advanced energy sector. For the sake of the report, “advanced energy” is defined as any technology that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure and more efficient.
Using research conducted by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the report is the first to define the scope and scale of the advanced energy sector within the State of Tennessee, providing a benchmark from which to measure growth moving forward.
The report highlights that:
- In 2013, there were almost 325,000 jobs in the State’s advanced energy sector, comprising 13.6% of total statewide Tennessee employment;
- The annual average wage in this sector was $48,764;
- The sector contributed $33.4 billion to state gross domestic product in 2013, and workers in this sector paid more than $820 million in sales tax to state and local governments.
Tennessee manufacturers benefit from a robust advanced energy economy. In particular, with one out of every three manufacturing jobs in Tennessee supporting the auto industry, automotive manufacturers that are integrating advanced energy technologies into their processes contribute to a large portion of this activity. In response to higher fuel economy standards and mandates, a lot of important research and development is taking place in this arena and is projected to take place in coming years.
Attractive for Business
Compared to other states, Tennessee has a disproportionate amount of jobs within the advanced energy sector. This can largely be attributed to the relatively low cost of energy in Tennessee due to TVA and the large hydropower infrastructure, as well as to the reliability of power in Tennessee. In addition to this, Tennessee has a relatively low cost of living and advantageous tax environment, producing a recipe for entrepreneurial attractiveness.
Currently, almost 80 percent of advanced energy activity in Tennessee is located within only 20 counties. As businesses create and leverage strategic partnerships with educational institutions and research institutions like ORNL to drive entrepreneurship and economic development, there is a huge potential to expand advanced energy activity into rural areas of Tennessee, creating new jobs and centers for innovative development.
Roughly 11 states have already begun to measure and track their advanced energy sectors. By jumping into the game, Tennessee can showcase advanced energy as an economic driver within the state, and can demonstrate to other states and outside investors that Tennessee boasts a globally competitive advanced energy economy.
 TAEBC Economic Impact Report Media Call on June 17, 2015.