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.