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If you want to know more about energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy management solutions, you’ve come to the right place. The Tennessee Energy Education Initiative provides training, tools, and potential funding options to help Tennessee organizations take control of their energy usage. Learn how we can help yours.



University of Tennessee to Lead $259 Million Manufacturing Partnership

On January 9, 2015, President Obama flew to Knoxville to announce that the University of Tennessee (UT) will lead the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), a consortium of 122 companies, nonprofits, universities and research laboratories tasked with creating next generation composite materials and technologies for rapid deployment within the automotive, wind turbine, and compressed gas storage industries.

Through the Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, the IACMI will invest more than $250 million – $70 million in federal funds and more than $180 million in non-federal funds – to launch a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Advanced Composites. The Institute will focus on lowering the overall manufacturing costs of advanced composites by 50 percent, reducing the energy used to make composites by 75 percent and increasing the recyclability of composites to over 95 percent within the next decade. IACMI is dedicated to overcoming these barriers by developing low-cost, high-production, energy-efficient manufacturing and recycling processes for composites applications. The Institute will focus on advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites that combine strong fibers with advanced, tough plastics that yield materials that are lighter and stronger than steel.

The partnership connects the leading manufacturers across the supply chain, and is regionally organized around five focus areas: vehicles (Michigan); wind turbines (Colorado); compressed gas storage (Ohio); design, modeling and simulation (Indiana); and composite materials and processing technology (Tennessee supported by Kentucky). In addition to UT, other Tennessee-based organizations in the partnership include: the State of Tennessee, Heil Trailer International, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Techmer Engineered Solutions, UT Research Foundation, Vanderbilt University, and Volkswagen.

IACMI also supports efforts of DOE’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative by encouraging collaboration and moving ahead with production methods and materials that require less energy and resources.

DOE Initiative Highlights Growth of Electric Vehicle Workplace Charging

In January 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge (the Challenge) to encourage increased access to workplace charging through a partnership of public and private entities and by directly offering employers information and technical assistance. At launch, the Challenge boasted 13 partners.

According to an August 2014 survey of participating partners, access to EV charging has nearly doubled in the last two years under the Challenge, with the number of workplaces offering charging stations increasing 40% in 2013 and 45% in 2014. These partners now provide access to EV charging to more than 600,000 employees at over 300 locations across the country.  Nissan and Schneider Electric have joined the partnership at their Middle Tennessee locations.

As access to workplace charging has increased, the number of Challenge participants has mushroomed more than tenfold, to over 150 partners, and DOE is seeking to grow the Challenge to 500 partners by 2018.

DOE released a progress report in November 2014 with the following impressive results from the Challenge to date:

  • 90% of partners reported that their workplace charging stations were fully occupied 5 days a week.
  • Partner employees are twenty times more likely to drive an EV than the average worker.
  • Employee EV use under the Challenge displaced approximately 370,000 gallons of gasoline between June 2013 and May 2014.

The Challenge is open to employers of “all sizes and industry types in the United States.” Interested organizations can learn more about or join the Challenge here.

New Partnership to Test Smart Grid Technology

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Chattanooga’s Electric Power Board (EPB) have launched a new partnership to improve the functionality of the power grid. New smart grid technologies and processes will be tested through modeling sequences as well as upon Chattanooga’s fully operational smart grid, gathering real world feedback that will help the electric grid deliver reliable, affordable, and clean electricity to consumers. Assistant Secretary for DOE’s Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Division, Patricia Hoffman, served on the panel that discussed the launch. She emphasized that many of the initial smart grid benefits can be made by improving the distribution system, which is one of the goals of the partnership, “making the grid more efficient, more flexible, and more reliable.”

EPB, which was established in 1935 as a nonprofit to provide electric power to the Chattanooga area, provides electricity and other services to approximately 170,000 homes and businesses using a world class fiber optic network. This next generation system reduces the impact of outages, improves response time, and provides customers greater control over their energy use. As an example, power was restored within 3 days following a significant February 2014 storm; under the prior grid, similar restorations took as many as 8 days.

Results of this partnership will guide the energy distribution system of the future to improve service and resiliency, save money and energy, and enhance public safety. The case study hopes to serve as a blueprint for other utilities in Tennessee that may be evaluating deployment of smart grid technologies.

Clean Energy Loan Program Shows Promise

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loans Program Office has supported numerous innovative projects across the country, helping to launch the utility-scale photovoltaic solar industry, revitalize the U.S. nuclear industry, commercialize cellulosic biofuels, and accelerate the growth of advanced and electric vehicle manufacturing.

Based on a newly-released progress report, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Energy Loan Program has netted more than $800 million in interest from its $30 billion loan program, which has impacted an estimated 55,000 jobs. This program was established in 2005 and benefitted from $15 billion going to loan guarantees through the Recovery Act in 2009. A total of $34.25 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and conditional commitments have been issued, with $3.49 billion of the principal having been repaid to date. The interest earned totals $810 million, exceeding the actual and estimated losses of $780 million.

In 2010, DOE awarded Nissan North America, based in Franklin, TN, a $1.45B loan under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. With these funds, Nissan constructed one of the largest battery manufacturing plants in the US, retooled its Smyrna, TN facility for assembly of the all-electric LEAF, made energy efficiency and environmental improvements to its paint operations, and developed an electric power train line in its Decherd, TN plant. These projects are estimated to support over 1,300 jobs and displace more than  5.7 million gallons of gasoline annually, according to DOE.

The Clean Energy Loan Program will continue to finance innovative technologies to achieve deployment at a commercial scale through its Title XVII Loan Program and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, and will utilize its remaining $40 billion in issuing authority in the years ahead. For eligibility information for this loan program, click here.

TEEI Takes Lessons from LEVER Workshop

On November 3-4, 2014, TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs (OEP) participated in a workshop on light electric vehicle (LEV) regulation and research at the University of Tennessee’s (UT) Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy in Knoxville. The workshop was hosted by the University of Tennessee’s Light Electric Vehicle Education and Research Center (LEVER), and included participants from academia, local and state government, advocacy groups, and industry. Light electric vehicles are often referred to as e-bikes, or electronic bicycles, which integrate an electric motor into a standard bicycle to assist with propulsion.

LEVs, whether taking a simpler form that closely resembles a regular bicycle or something more substantial, will be a growing presence in the United States in the years ahead and will likely become an important link in urban mobility infrastructure. The industry, along with many bike shops, is predicting that within ten years, half of all the bicycles sold will be electric. Combining the utility and fun of a traditional bicycle with the convenient assistance of supplemental power for hills and hot summer days, the LEV may become a more common answer for a healthy, low emission, convenient, and cost effective means of urban transit.

At the workshop, presentations and conversations revolved around LEV adoption, systems integration, societal impacts, and polices governing the LEV industry. Topics included the growth of the LEV industry, advances in technology, and how the vehicles were being integrated into a number of recreational, commercial, and health-related areas. Some of the findings noted the potential for e-bikes to be successfully deployed in a bikeshare, displace car trips, and the demographics of users of e-bikes (58% between the ages of 45-64).

One of the key themes of the Tennessee Energy Education Initiative has been promoting ways for businesses, utilities, and governments to take control of their energy use. A number of TEEI events featured the Rhoades Car, a pedal-based vehicle available with electric assist, which offers energy saving alternatives for both personal and product mobility.

TEEI sponsors Second Annual Southeast Industrial Energy Efficiency Summit

Through the Tennessee Energy Education Initiative (TEEI), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Energy Programs (OEP) was a proud sponsor of the Second Annual Southeast Industrial Energy Efficiency Summit. This year’s event took place November 13-14 at the Embassy Suites Nashville Airport, and followed up the highly-successful inaugural Southeast Industrial Energy Efficiency Summit. Organized by the Industrial Energy Efficiency Network (IEEN), a TEEI partner, this year’s Summit convened representatives from the industrial, educational, and utility sectors to share best practices in energy efficiency and energy management and featured presentations from premier organizations, such as Alcoa, Brother International, Eastman Chemical, Electric Power Research Institute, General Motors, Lasco Fittings, Tennessee Tech, and Toyota.

TEEI joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings / Better Plants initiative and TVA’s EnergyRight Solutions for Business to provide outreach to conference attendees regarding technical assistance and energy financing opportunities in the commercial and industrial sectors, including the Tennessee Energy Efficiency Loan Program. TEEI also provided copies of “Tennessee’s Advanced Energy Asset Inventory,” a 45-page report dedicated to promoting the use of advanced energy technologies and assisting the development of Tennessee businesses in the emerging advanced energy sector. The report was produced in September 2013 by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with TEEI.

New Fuel Economy Guide for Car Buyers Released (2015)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), has released the 2015 Fuel Economy Guide. This guide provides customers with valuable information on the fuel efficiency and emissions of vehicles.

The guide allows users to search for vehicles based on their size and ranking. Users can also learn detailed information on each vehicle’s average fuel economy in miles per gallon, or its per gallon equivalent, as well as projections on long term cost savings, annual fuel costs, costs to drive a certain mileage, and the cost to fill a vehicle’s tank. It also allows for customization based on driver habits and the local cost of fuel. Additionally, the guide contains information on older models, and can arrange models in a number of price ranges.

According to the EPA, national fuel efficiency standards are expected to reduce 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetimes of vehicles from model years 2012-2025, and result in more than $1.7 trillion in savings for fuel costs. These car program standards are supported by the Climate Action Plan and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Nissan Implements Superior Energy Management Performance to Reduce Energy

Tennessee-based automaker Nissan North America was celebrated in a recent case study report for implementing an energy management system that met all requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Superior Energy Performance (SEP) and ISO 50001 standards for its assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.

SEP provides guidance, tools, and protocols to bring about improved energy performance. The certification places an emphasis on measurable savings and productivity improvement. SEP also complements and supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative by verifying facility-level energy performance improvements and savings achieved by participants in the Better Buildings, Better Plants program. Members of the U.S. Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board developed SEP as a transparent system for certifying improvements in energy performance and management practices.

Nissan worked with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office to baseline its energy usage and focus on implementing energy efficiency measures in its paint operations and central utilities plant that improved the energy performance of its assembly facilities by 7.2%, resulting in $938,000 annual projected savings. With an initial $331,000 investment in low to no cost energy efficiency measures, the marginal payback is less than 4 months. By achieving at least 5% energy reduction, Nissan’s Smyrna plant achieved a Silver-level Superior Energy Performance rating.

At the September 2014 Annual Meeting of the National Association of State Energy Officials in Savannah, GA, Russell Vare of Nissan North America provided an overview of production techniques that Nissan has employed as part of its broader sustainability strategies. The Nissan Green Program focuses on the penetration of zero-emission vehicles in the market, along with the wider application of fuel efficient vehicles. The program has also led to a 20% reduction in the carbon footprint of the manufacturing side, as well as utilization of 25% of recycled resources. This program has achieved results through operational improvements, technical improvements, use of renewable energy, and government collaboration.

Mr. Vare’s presentation can be found here.

TDEC, TVA, and University of Tennessee’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy Host Public Forum on U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Baker Center PanelUniversity of Tennessee’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, in conjunction with TDEC and TVA, hosted a public forum on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan on Tuesday, August 26.  In June 2014, the EPA issued proposed guidelines under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, which would regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. EPA expects to issue the final guidelines in June 2015. States will submit implementation plans for compliance within a year following the issuance of the final guidelines.

The forum focused on Tennessee and the Southeast region and addressed some of the questions and concerns being voiced about the proposed guidelines, including potential impacts and compliance approaches. Expert panelists and moderators included TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau, Vicki Arroyo of the Georgetown Climate Center, Beverly Banister of EPA, Brenda Brickhouse and Joe Hoagland of TVA, Michelle Walker of TDEC’s Office of Policy and Planning, Dr. Len Peters of Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, Dr. Don van der Vaart of North Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Kathy Kinsey of Maryland Department of the Environment, Erica Bowman of the America’s Natural Gas Alliance, Alejandra Nunez of Sierra Club, Lloyd Webb of the Tennessee Valley Industrial Committee, and Jeff Phillips of the Electric Power Research Institute. The forum drew an audience that represented diverse industries and interests. The agenda and panelist and moderator bios are available on the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy’s website.

Video of each panel session is accessible as follows:

Overview of EPA Clean Power Plan

Diversity of Power Generation within the Southeast & Potential Compliance Approaches

Impacted Industries, Industrial Ratepayers, Technologies & Advocates

TEEI August Recap

TDEC Launches New Technical Assistance Program to Stimulate Energy Improvement Investments in Tennessee’s Local Jurisdictions and Public Housing Authorities

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announced the launch of a new program to provide education, outreach and technical assistance to local jurisdictions and public housing authorities to support implementation of energy efficiency and energy management projects.

With a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs and its subrecipient grantee, expert energy efficiency consultancy group Clean Energy Solutions, Inc., will educate local officials on the benefits of energy efficiency and provide technical assistance on cost-effective energy efficiency measures, such as: building audits and reviews; requests for proposals or requests for qualifications to scope energy efficiency improvement projects; collaborating with energy service companies; benchmarking energy and water usage; measurement and verification of energy savings; and procurement and contracting assistance.

The program will explore major financing options to support energy efficiency improvements, such as energy performance contracting, utility incentives, and utility bill repayments. Other financing options may be identified during the grant period, which currently runs through early 2016.

“TDEC is pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with local government and public housing authority partners in an effort to promote energy efficiency in the State’s harder to reach sectors,” said Commissioner Martineau. “We thank the U.S. Department of Energy for providing the funding for TDEC and its partners to provide often-needed technical consultation and support at the local level.”

Tennessee was one of sixteen states to receive a competitive U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program 2013 award overall and just one of six states to receive an award in the “Public Buildings Retrofit” category.  Additional information on the State Energy Program 2013 is available online: click here.

The program is available at no cost to local jurisdictions, including city and county governments, and public housing authorities in the State of Tennessee through January 2016. Interested agencies are encouraged to contact Luke Gebhard, Senior Program Manager of TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs, at 615-741-2994 or luke.gebhard@tn.gov.

 

TDEC, TVA, and University of Tennessee’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy Host Public Forum on U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan  Baker Center Panel

University of Tennessee’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, in conjunction with TDEC and TVA, hosted a public forum on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan on Tuesday, August 26.  In June 2014, the EPA issued proposed guidelines under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, which would regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. EPA expects to issue the final guidelines in June 2015. States will submit implementation plans for compliance within a year following the issuance of the final guidelines.

The forum focused on Tennessee and the Southeast region and addressed some of the questions and concerns being voiced about the proposed guidelines, including potential impacts and compliance approaches. Expert panelists and moderators included TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau, Vicki Arroyo of the Georgetown Climate Center, Beverly Banister of EPA, Brenda Brickhouse and Joe Hoagland of TVA, Michelle Walker of TDEC’s Office of Policy and Planning, Dr. Len Peters of Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, Dr. Don van der Vaart of North Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Kathy Kinsey of Maryland Department of the Environment, Erica Bowman of the America’s Natural Gas Alliance, Alejandra Nunez of Sierra Club, Lloyd Webb of the Tennessee Valley Industrial Committee, and Jeff Phillips of the Electric Power Research Institute. The forum drew an audience that represented diverse industries and interests. The agenda, panelist and moderator bios, and video of the proceedings is available on the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy’s website, www.bakercenter.utk.edu.                                                                                                    

Urban Runoff 5K Urban Runoff 5k                                                                                              

TDEC, Tennessee Stormwater Association and Nashville Metro Water Services are partnering up again to host the 2nd Annual Nashville Urban Runoff 5k on Saturday, October 25th. The run begins at Bicentennial Mall State Park and weaves its way past several cool and innovative green stormwater management practices. In addition to viewing examples of ”green” stormwater practices along the route, the race will also parallel and highlight a section of the Cumberland River, Nashville’s most precious water resource for which innovative stormwater design concepts will be key in preserving for future generations. A portion of the net proceeds will go to the Tennessee Stormwater Association (TNSA) to continue to offer this healthy and fun public educational opportunity each year and assist local governments that promote water quality health awareness & local clean water efforts.

Register today to run, walk or volunteer!

 

News and Notes                                

TEEI congratulates TDEC’s Matt Milam for his appointment to the Tennessee Mapping Advisory Committee. This committee works to develop a long-range geologic mapping plan for Tennessee, including establishment of mapping priorities. Mr. Milam was selected to represent TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs due to his role as an Energy Services Coordinator – 12 (Energy) and his technological skills with Geographic Information Systems.

 

Pam Crozier has been named the new Energy Coordinator for USDA’s Rural Development Program in Tennessee. Crozier replaces Will Dodson, who started a new position within USDA’s national Rural Development Office as a Regional Energy Coordinator. In this new role, Mr. Dodson will be covering a multi-state region to manage energy programs at the national level. TEEI welcomes Ms. Crozier in her new role and wishes Mr. Dodson all the best in his new position.

TEEI congratulates Pat Riley, General Manager of Gibson County Utility District, on his appointment as Vice Chairman to the American Public Gas Association’s Natural Gas Vehicle Committee. Under Mr. Riley’s leadership, Gibson County Utility District is undertaking plans for installation of a public compressed natural gas fueling station in Trenton, Tennessee that will provide additional fueling infrastructure in northwest Tennessee.

 

UPCOMING: Tennessee Renewable Energy Economic Development Council to Hold International Conference in Cookeville

The Tennessee Renewable Energy Economic Development Council (TREEDC) will host its first annual International Renewable Energy Conference on October 12-14, 2014 at Tennessee Tech University’s Cookeville campus. The conference will feature panel sessions on the latest innovations in renewable energy technology. TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs and TEEI partner Pathway Lending will be participating in an energy finance education panel. For more information and to register, click here.