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Office of Energy Programs Monitors Gasoline Supply Disruption in Tennessee

October is National Energy Awareness Month, which serves to underscore how critical energy is to our prosperity, security, and environmental well-being. Throughout the month of October, TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs will highlight a variety of case studies and tips to promote energy conservation, resiliency, and smart energy management. Through these efforts, we rededicate ourselves to a more conscious use of energy, so that we can continue to strive for a cleaner, stronger, and more secure future.

The Colonial Pipeline system connects Gulf Coast refineries with markets across the Southeast U.S., terminating in the New York Harbor. As the largest fuel-shipping pipeline in the nation by volume, it supplies more than 70% of transportation fuels for the Southeast (GA, SC, NC, TN, and VA). A spur from Atlanta provides gasoline and distillate (diesel and jet fuel) for Middle and East Tennessee (EIA, 2012). Knoxville and Chattanooga also receive supply from the Plantation Pipeline, owned by Kinder-Morgan (map).


Image Source: EIA, This Week in Petroleum, 21 September 2016. http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/.

On September 9, at 4:15 PM CDT, Colonial Pipeline announced that it had shut down its gasoline (Line 1) and distillate (Line 2) pipelines to investigate a system integrity issue. That morning, an Alabama Department of Environmental Management mining inspector reported the smell of gasoline south of Birmingham, Alabama, in the Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area.  A leak, which is currently estimated to have released 250,000 to 330,000 gallons of gasoline, was identified in Line 1.  Line 2 was restored to full service within 24 hours.  Colonial began to construct a bypass of Line 1 and ultimately restored service 12 days later.  In the interim, gas supplies in Middle and East Tennessee tightened.  This remained the case until September 30, 2016.

In response to the resulting gasoline supply disruption, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) activated the Office of Energy Programs’ (OEP) Emergency Service Coordinators (ESCs), Ben Bolton and Jason Carney, to monitor the situation. (OEP is responsible for the  Emergency Support Function 12 / Energy (ESF-12) mission related to transportation and heating fuels as defined under the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan.) Throughout the disruption, OEP’s ESCs communicated frequently with petroleum industry stakeholders and engaged with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Emergency Assurance Coordinator network. These activities allowed OEP to keep public sector partners such as TEMA, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, various TDEC divisions (Office of General Counsel, Air Pollution Control, Emergency Services) apprised of the market supply across Middle and East Tennessee and resolve any first responder shortages.

OEP worked with the abovementioned stakeholders and partners to structure a request to the Governor’s Office to provide increased flexibility for sourcing gasoline. On September 17, Governor Haslam signed Executive Order 56, declaring a State of Emergency in order to waive the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours of service limits for truck drivers providing fuel. The Greater Nashville area experienced a “run on the pumps,” which resulted in weekend gasoline sales increasing 50% above normal. As a result, even after the bypass on Line 1 was put into service, the hours of service waiver was extended through September 30 to allow inventories to return to normal and shipments to arrive from the Colonial Pipeline.

For more information, and to view the Colonial Pipeline response site, see https://helena.colonialresponse.com/.

Pond 2 (left) showing gasoline compared to Pond 3 (right) which was unaffected by the gasoline spill. Image Source: U.S. EPA, September 11, 2016.

Pond 2 (left) showing gasoline compared to Pond 3 (right) which was unaffected by the gasoline spill. Image Source: U.S. EPA, September 11, 2016.


Emergency Support Functions are mechanisms developed under the National Response Framework to provide federal, state, and local governments a common language and organization structure for responding to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other catastrophic events. Each of the 15 ESFs has a corresponding organization or agency tasked with overseeing the preparedness, response, and recovery phases of incident management. Tennessee was one of the first to integrate the ESF concept and TEMA was tasked to manage the activities of the ESCs.

The purpose of ESF-12 Energy is to facilitate energy assurance in areas of the State affected by an emergency. While TVA is responsible for electricity generation and the electric grid, OEP has primary responsibility for monitoring the status of the transportation and heating fuel distribution network, and, if necessary, coordinating the State response to fuel disruptions. Working with our public sector partners, such as TEMA, the Governor’s Office, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce and Insurance, and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the State is able to convene the necessary government agencies and private sector stakeholders to ensure a continuous supply of transportation and heating fuels to citizens throughout the State.

If you would like to learn more about ESF-12, please contact ben.bolton@tn.gov (Primary ESC for ESF 12).

TDEC Hosts Workshop on Energy Efficiency Opportunities for Local Jurisdictions and K-12 School Districts

Most state, local and county agencies face increasing energy costs and the need to replace or upgrade aging, inefficient, and obsolete energy and water consuming equipment. Although these needs are often evident, capital improvement and operating budgets are typically inadequate to fund the needed upgrades.

In 2013, TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs (OEP) received an award from the U.S. Department of Energy to provide education, outreach, and no-cost technical assistance to local governments, K-12 school districts, and public housing authorities in Tennessee, with the goal of assisting these entities and supporting the finance and implementation of energy efficiency, energy management and renewable energy projects. The scope of work under this award includes, but is not limited to, engaging local officials in the benefits of energy efficiency and providing no-cost technical assistance on cost-effective energy efficiency measures such as building audits, requests for qualifications to scope work, collaboration with energy service companies, benchmarking, measurement and verification of energy savings, and procurement.

benworkshopAs part of this work, on May 19, TDEC OEP and Clean Energy Solutions, Inc. (CESI) hosted a workshop in Franklin. A variety of local government and school district representatives were in attendance. The first portion of the workshop was dedicated to exploring energy efficiency opportunities and financing mechanisms for energy conservation measures. Specifically, this portion of the workshop featured presentations on energy savings performance contracting, Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds, low-interest loan offerings from both the Energy Efficient Schools Initiative and the Pathway Lending Energy Efficiency Loan Program, and TDEC OEP’s program to provide technical assistance to wastewater treatment plants. Brian Blackmon with the City of Knoxville’s Office of Sustainability also gave a presentation on an energy savings performance contract that Knoxville completed on a variety of its facilities, with an overview of the successes and energy saved to date. The featured local government perspective

The second portion of the workshop focused on LED streetlight conversions for local jurisdictions, and featured presentations from the McMinnville Electric System (McMinnville was the first city in TVA’s service territory to convert all of their street lights to LED) as well as the City of Knoxville’s Office of Sustainability, which has piloted an LED street light conversion project and is now in the midst of pursing a city-wide conversion project. This portion of the workshop built off of an April 11 webinar hosted by OEP and CESI, entitled, “LED Street Lighting for Local Jurisdictions: Working with Local Utilities to Facilitate Best Case Scenarios.” A recording of the webinar is available here.

Under this award, OEP has provided no-cost technical assistance to numerous local governments, K-12 schools, and public housing authorities in order to support their evaluation of energy efficiency opportunities and investments. The project period for this award will end on January 31, 2017.

TDEC, UT and TVA Host Forum on Energy Efficiency, Conservation and Low-Income Households

Low-income families spend a greater proportion of their incomes on utility bills, fuel and energy, and could benefit greatly from the savings provided by more efficient homes, appliances and cars. However, these groups are often the least likely to be able to afford investments in more energy efficient measures and technologies. On March 31, TDEC, along with the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Valley Authority, hosted a forum that featured several panel discussions targeting the topic of Energy Efficiency, Conservation & Low-Income Households at the University of Tennessee’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. The forum highlighted key aspects of the topic from the viewpoint of consumer behaviorists/economic researchers, governmental agencies, non-profits, transportation specialists, and utilities through panel discussions, keynote presentations, and open dialogue.

utforummollypanelAs our nation currently wastes more energy than it consumes, wasted energy is now recognized as an important resource base to grapple with and minimize. Through programs and policies that promote energy efficiency and conservation gains, there are a growing number of market opportunities to reduce energy consumption and unnecessary financial spending. In fact, through the development of its 2015 Integrated Resource Plan, TVA was able to integrate energy efficiency into its projected fuel mix and to consider it a resource. This helped to determine the amount of electricity generation needed and how much can be avoided by way of energy efficiency to meet future needs.

Given the way that many energy efficiency incentive programs are structured, however, low-income households are often unable to participate due to financial constraints. Most commonly, a program will offer financing options or provide an incentive or rebate to a customer that purchases an upgrade or installs a measure to improve the efficiency of their home. If a customer does not have the money to invest on the front-end, they are unable to take advantage of such programs. Highlighting this as a major constraint to current program design, the forum sought to address how existing programs could be augmented and new programs could be structured to aid low-income communities.

By bringing objective analysis and experience to the table, panelists and industry experts shared their insight on the subject, including lessons learned, to inform policy development and program design efforts. In particular, the adoption of key financing alternatives, the construction of more efficient homes, and the incorporation of more grassroots education and outreach strategies to reach low-income populations were highlighted as considerations for programs that seek to amplify their impact on these target communities.

The forum was the second in a series of collaborative events hosted by TDEC, UT’s Baker Center and TVA. Work is already underway on a third forum, which will address a separate topic of interest and is tentatively scheduled for fall 2016.

To view the presentations in video format, click here.

TDEC Works with Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants on Energy Efficiency

Drinking water and wastewater treatment systems account for roughly 4 percent of energy use in the United States.[1] At the local level, almost 35% of municipal energy use occurs at these facilities, given that the pumps, motors and other equipment used to treat water often operate around the clock.[2]

Given the high energy intensity of these facilities (25-50 percent of the operating budget for wastewater utilities and 80 percent of the processing/distribution costs for drinking water treatment plants is spent on electricity),[3] the opportunity for saving energy and money through energy efficiency and conservation of energy is extremely large.

In 2011, TDEC’s Office of Sustainable Practices and Division of Water Resources, in cooperation with EPA, TVA, the University of Memphis, and the UT Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) created the Tennessee Water and Wastewater Energy Efficiency Partnership.  This Partnership provides free technical assistance to drinking water and wastewater treatment plants through energy assessments and no-to-low cost recommendations.  Once implemented, these recommendations have saved participating treatment plants an average of 19 percent in annual energy costs. Realized savings have motivated personnel to find additional energy efficiency projects, which can be funded with such savings. Ultimately, these savings help to postpone the raising of rates, allowing consumers to also benefit.

In September 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs (OEP) would receive a 2015 State Energy Program Competitive Award to work alongside the State of Alabama in furthering energy efficiency at Tennessee’s and Alabama’s water and wastewater treatment plants. The award will serve to expand the work of the Tennessee Water and Wastewater Energy Efficiency Partnership and will advance the adoption of energy efficiency improvements at wastewater and water treatment plants in at least 24 municipalities in Tennessee and Alabama through onsite energy assessments and energy management implementation support. The project team, which consists of experts from TDEC’s Division of Water Resources, EPA Region 4, TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs, TDEC’s Office of Sustainable Practices, the University of Memphis, Clean Energy Solutions, Inc., the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, combines a wealth of technical experience and compliance knowledge. By harnessing the expertise of the project team and fostering the exchange of best practices between states, the DOE-funded project will support water and wastewater treatment plants in identifying and overcoming barriers to implementing energy efficiency, ultimately resulting in significant energy savings.

The initial kickoff workshop under the 2015 SEP Competitive Award is likely to take place in June of 2016. For more information, contact Ben Bolton at ben.bolton@tn.gov or (615) 532-8798.

TDEC Announces Second Annual Sustainable Transportation Awards and Forum

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) invites Tennesseans to submit nominations for the second annual 2016 Sustainable Transportation Awards. The deadline to submit nominations is March 31.

The Awards recognize outstanding initiatives within the state of Tennessee to reduce transportation-related energy and emissions, in line with an overarching effort to save natural resources, improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans, and create efficiencies in the delivery of goods and services.

“By recognizing thought leaders in this field, we hope to inspire replication of innovative projects, activities, and initiatives across the state,” TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau said. “We also hope to bring these thought leaders together to discuss new ways to address transportation-related issues that affect our environment.”

Additional consideration for the awards may be given to projects that benefit an underserved population, decrease blight, make use of renewable fuels, provide infrastructure for two or more types of transportation not including personal vehicles, or directly result in a similar project being completed by a different entity.

Eligible entities include federal, state and local governments; commercial, nonprofit, and industrial organizations; public and private institutions of higher education; and utilities. The entity must be located in Tennessee, and the project must have been completed in the last five years. All nominees must have a minimum of three consecutive, current years of exceptional environmental compliance with the Department of Environment and Conservation. Self-nominations are encouraged.

A panel of judges representing diverse interests will select award recipients based on criteria including project planning optimization, community health and well-being, participation incentives and outreach, and emissions reductions.

In connection with Clean Air Month, TDEC, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, will host a recognition ceremony and sustainable transportation forum May 12-13, 2016, at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Applications and more information about the TDEC Sustainable Transportation Awards and Forum are now available at http://tn.gov/environment/article/energy-sustainable-transportation-awards-forum. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Alexa Voytek in TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs at (615) 532-0238 or Alexa.Voytek@tn.gov.

Workplace Charging Partnership Mid-Program Review and TN Workplace Charging Partnership

Three years ago, the U.S. DOE initiated the EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge, which established the goal of having 500 U.S. employers commit to installing workplace plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging by 2018. On December 1, 2015, U.S. DOE released its Mid-Program Review, and announced that 250 employers have joined thus far as Challenge partners. As a result of their efforts, more than 9,000 PEV-driving employees are charging at these worksites on a regular basis.

The benefits for joining the partnership are manifold. U.S. DOE provides employer partners access to personalized toolkits, webinars, workshops, newsletters, one-on-one technical assistance, and case studies. Beyond this, partner employers stand out as leaders in sustainable business, helping to contribute to harmful emissions reductions. In fact, workplace charging efforts made by partner employers eliminated 17 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, which is equivalent to each company removing more than nine gasoline vehicles from U.S. roads.

Below are a few key highlights from DOE’s Mid-Program Review:

• Over 90% of employees express satisfaction with their worksite charging program.
• 70% of employers have received positive recognition for their workplace charging efforts and 60% have helped another employer develop a workplace charging program.
• In 2015, challenge partner employees were six times more likely to drive a PEV than the average worker.
• The majority of employer partners (80%) provide free PEV charging, compared to 20% who charge their employees a fee. However, survey responses showed similar occupancy rates of charging stations at workplaces that provide free charging and those that charge a fee.
• 85% of partners’ PEV drivers plug in at worksites where charging stations are occupied five days a week or more.


In order to help Tennessee employers gauge whether the DOE partnership is right for them, East Tennessee Clean Fuels, a DOE Clean Cities Coalition, has teamed up with TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs and other entities to create the Tennessee Workplace Charging Partnership. With a slightly lower barrier of entry, the Tennessee Workplace Charging Partnership acts as a stepping stone to the DOE partnership, bringing the initiative to the local level and engaging a new cooperative of nonprofits, state agencies, and industry partners to help Tennessee businesses learn about and place EV charging equipment onsite. For more information, check out these 6 simple steps to implementing workplace charging, as well as the one-page Tennessee Workplace Charging Partnership Agreement form.

Tennessee Loan Program Now Open to Local Governmental Entities to Help Communities Reduce Utility Costs

On December 15, Pathway Lending announced that its flagship Energy Efficiency Loan Program, the largest of its kind in the nation, is now open to local governmental entities. Under this expansion, those seeking to reduce energy consumption and costs can access affordable loan capital needed to make their projects a reality. The program offers up to six years of financing for qualified energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to Tennessee local governmental entities including municipalities, counties, school districts and other similar public agencies. The program will begin accepting applications from local governmental entities on January 4, 2016.

Launched in 2010, the loan program helps Tennessee businesses finance investments in energy efficient technologies, including energy-saving building retrofits and renewable energy systems, which reduce energy consumption and energy costs and avoid release of harmful air pollutants while spurring local job growth. The program, which has originated more than $24 million in loans to date to both for- and non-profit businesses, now welcomes Tennessee local governmental entities to participate on a first come, first serve basis.

The Energy Efficiency Loan Program is a collaborative effort between the State of Tennessee / Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Pathway Lending.

“We strongly believe expanding the reach of the program will provide great benefits to Tennessee communities. This new source of capital gets the ball rolling on projects that have been long delayed due to a lack of funds,” said Clint Gwin, president of Pathway Lending. “I want to thank Governor Haslam and his team along with TVA for supporting this expansion. Their backing will help local governmental entities become leaders in energy efficiency in their communities.”

“TVA is pleased to have supported this expansion of the Energy Efficiency Loan Program to include local governmental entities,” said Cindy Herron, Vice President of EnergyRight® and Renewable Solutions at TVA. “We have long supported increased implementation of energy efficiency in all sectors of the economy and bringing this valuable source of capital to governmental entities will deliver long term impacts to the local power companies and the communities they serve.”

The TDEC Office of Energy Programs works with both the public and private sector to provide real solutions and savings on energy expenses. “Expanding the Energy Efficiency Loan Program provides yet another valuable resource for local governmental entities seeking to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and complements TDEC’s grant and technical assistance offerings,” said Bob Martineau, TDEC Commissioner. “We encourage governmental entities to take advantage of this opportunity through Pathway Lending.”

Through the Energy Efficiency Loan Program, Pathway Lending offers below-market rate loans to finance building retrofits, equipment replacements or upgrades, lighting and renewable generation. Up to 100 percent of project costs may be financed, including design and installation fees. The loans are designed to allow for energy costs savings derived from each project to provide the repayment of the loan.

The program is available to any local governmental entity or business seeking to reduce energy consumption of its Tennessee facilities through energy efficiency-improving projects. To be eligible for a loan, a governmental entity or business must have a complete third-party energy audit, assessment or vendor proposal that details estimated energy savings.

A list of energy auditors can be found at http://www.pathwaylending.org/loans/energy/energy-resources.

To learn more about the Energy Efficiency Loan Program, please visit www.pathwaylending.org or call (615) 425-7171.

About Pathway Lending

Based in Nashville, Pathway Lending is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) as certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Founded in 1999, Pathway Lending provides loans to businesses lacking access to traditional financing options throughout Tennessee. Since its inception, Pathway Lending has made more than 800 loans totaling $150 million to over 500 companies. The Energy Efficiency Loan Program is a $30 million dollar revolving loan program that has helped more than 125 Tennessee save money by reducing their energy consumption. Pathway Lending is headquartered in Nashville. For more information, visit www.pathwaylending.org.

About State of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

With more than 2,900 employees working across the state, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is a diverse and dynamic department, serving the state by safeguarding the health and safety of Tennessee citizens from environmental hazards; protecting and improving the quality of Tennessee’s land, air and water; and managing Tennessee’s 56 state parks, 85 natural areas and a variety of historical or archaeological sites. For more information about the department, please visit www.tn.gov/environment.

Tennessee Valley Authority

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River System and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation. For more information about TVA, please visit www.tva.gov.

EmPower TN Announces First Round of Projects to Improve Efficiency, Lower State Utility Costs

Office of Customer Focused Government Director Terry Cowles announced yesterday the project selections for the EmPower TN Program to improve energy efficiency at state buildings and reduce the cost of government. The projects will now move forward for final review by the State Building Commission. Once approved, state agencies can begin implementing projects, saving energy and money, such as high efficiency heating and cooling upgrades, lighting improvements and energy management control systems.

EmPower TN is an initiative that seeks to lower the state’s utility costs by improving energy efficiency in state buildings. Currently, the state receives approximately 7,000 monthly utility bills and pays an estimated $193 million annually in total utility costs. Thirty-three projects representing $33.6 million in EmPower TN funding requests received final selection by the EmPower TN Steering Committee which has an oversight role over the program and is comprised of cross sections of representatives from the legislative branch, state government operations, and higher education. Once fully implemented, these projects will produce an estimated savings of $4.43 million each year for as many as 20 years.

The program began accepting applications in June, following a series of workshops across the state to help promote the effort. The Tennessee General Assembly approved $43.7 million in funding for 2015-16 to improve efficiency in state facilities and $6.2 million of that goes toward acquisition and implementation of a statewide energy management system.

More information on EmPower TN and a listing of selected projects are now available at www.tn.gov/empowertn.

TVA’s Extreme Energy Makeover Project to Award $3.75 Million to Cleveland for Low-Income Housing Retrofits

TVA recently announced that it would award United Way of Bradley County a $3.75 million Extreme Energy Makeover Grant, to retrofit at least 300 homes in low-income neighborhoods. The grant, which is part of TVA’s Smart Communities program, aims to achieve a 25 percent reduction in each home’s electric energy usage through cost-effective, whole-home retrofits.

Cleveland Utilities will join Impact Cleveland as part of the makeover team, which also includes the Cleveland Housing Authority, CLEAResult, and the City of Cleveland. Home Depot and Habitat for Humanity will also provide support for the program, which is due to launch in April of 2016. Homeowners interested in learning more about the program can call 1-844-615-8321.

TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs, in conjunction with its subrecipient Clean Energy Solutions, Inc., has been providing no-cost technical assistance to the Cleveland Housing Authority since September 2014. This assistance has been provided under its U.S. DOE State Energy Program Competitive Award, “Stimulating Energy Investment in Local Jurisdictions, K-12 Public Schools and Public Housing Authorities,” and hopes to leverage a portion of the TVA Extreme Energy Makeover grant funding towards an Energy Savings Performance Contract for the Public Housing Authority, which will amplify the impact and energy savings of the funding.

Energy savings performance contracting (ESPCs)

An ESPC is a comprehensive agreement in which an energy services company (ESCO) performs an investment grade energy audit, and then develops, designs, arranges financing for, installs, and often operates and maintains energy- and water-saving improvements for a customer, such as a state, public housing authority, or local government. Unlike the conventional design-bid-build process of purchasing energy-efficiency improvements, which can require separate solicitations and contracts, an ESPC allows for a comprehensive approach to energy and water savings that is more desirable and cost effective than a single measure approach. The crucial benefit of energy performance contracting is that the agency can use future avoided costs from utility bills generated by the project to pay off the original investment, plus financing and maintenance costs, over the term of the contract, which can be up to 15 years.

Annual energy savings are contractually guaranteed by the ESCO. To ensure accountability, all ESPCs include a formal measurement and verification (M&V) plan that specifies procedures the ESCO must follow to demonstrate that the installed energy conservation measures are delivering the guaranteed savings. If the savings guarantee is not met in a given year, the ESCO must pay the agency the difference between the guaranteed amount and the actual verified amount. This savings guarantee places the risk of performance on the ESCO, not the agency.

Stimulating Energy Investment in Tennessee

Tennessee’s program, which officially launched in July of 2014, includes work to engage local officials in the benefits of energy efficiency and to provide free technical assistance related to cost-effective energy efficiency measures, such as building audits, Requests for Qualifications to qualify ESCOs, benchmarking, measurement and verification of energy savings, and procurements. In particular, the project helps local officials to explore energy efficiency financing options such as energy savings performance contracting, utility incentives, and utility bill repayments. The project period for this award program runs through early 2017. For more information, visit http://tn.gov/environment/article/energy-doe-state-energy-program-2013-competitive-award.

New Report Assesses Environmental Impact of Widespread Vehicle Electrification

A new study by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) modeled electric sector and transportation sector emissions with and without widespread vehicle electrification, to determine the environmental effects of vehicle electrification on overall U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

For the analysis on widespread vehicle electrification, the report makes the assumption that by 2050, electricity will replace roughly half of light- and medium-duty petroleum-fueled vehicles, as well as a significant portion of non-road equipment, such as forklifts and lawn mowers.

A Cleaner Electric Sector, Combined with Clean Transportation

Given the continued de-carbonization of the electricity sector due to existing and prospective regulations and the expanding deployment of low-emission generation technologies, the report forecasts GHG emissions through 2050, considering the high likelihood for clean generation sources to achieve significant reductions in overall electric sector emissions.

The report then assesses the possibility of further GHG emissions reductions, resulting from widespread vehicle electrification, as well as the continuation of improvement in conventional vehicle efficiency. With these two transportation-related elements, in addition to the de-carbonized electric grid, the report concludes that by 2050, total annual GHG emissions (from both mobile and stationary sources) could be reduced by 45-75%, relative to 2015 levels. Without the broad electric car adoption, however, emissions would be cut by only 25%, relative to 2015 levels.

Consequentially, the report notes that while electric vehicles are already cleaner than petroleum-fueled vehicles, with the development of a cleaner electric grid, electric vehicles will ensure an even larger portion of future greenhouse gas reductions overall.

Electric Vehicles in Tennessee

As part of last week’s National Drive Electric Week, the Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalitions hosted a number of events to promote increased electric vehicle deployment in the State of Tennessee, including ride-and-drive demonstrations that allowed individuals the opportunity to view and test drive various electric vehicle models.

The East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition has also recently launched www.DriveElectricTn.org, which is a website dedicated to spurring the growth and adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and electric vehicle charging structure in the State of Tennessee. Be sure to check out this website for blog posts, case studies, and useful resources related to electric vehicles.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Energy Programs is also offering a two-tiered rebate on qualifying electric vehicles that are purchased or leased after June 15, 2015 in the State of Tennessee. As of September 25, 2015, there is $536,000 remaining in rebate funding. For more information, and for details on eligibility, visit http://tn.gov/environment/article/energy-electric-vehicle-rebates.