TVA accepting public comment on proposed 2018 rate change

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) proposes to revise the structure of its wholesale electric power rates through pricing that better aligns wholesale rates with the underlying costs to serve wholesale customers. As outlined in the August 2017 rate change letter to local power companies (LPCs), TVA proposes to reduce the standard service energy rates by 1¢ per kWh and establish a grid access charge to recover an equivalent amount of revenue.

On March 9, 2018, TVA released a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) that reviews the proposed rate change and the potential environmental and economic impacts of the change. The draft EA is available for public review and comment until April 9, 2018.

In the EA, TVA considers a broad range of three potential rate change alternatives. In addition to reviewing its proposal (1¢ per kWh), TVA reviewed an alternative that would apply a smaller energy charge reduction and grid access charge (0.25¢/kWh) and an alternative that would apply a larger reduction and grid access charge (2.5¢/kWh). Each of the rate change alternatives under review in the EA would be revenue neutral for TVA (i.e. they would not change the amount of TVA revenue).

Read the full story here.

New report reveals more companies are taking notice of renewable energy cost savings

Once inaccessible to many organizations, today’s renewable energy technologies make financial sense and companies are paying close attention.

TAEBC member Schneider Electric partnered with GreenBiz Research to release the State of Corporate Energy & Sustainability Programs 2018 report.

The findings are based on responses to an online survey completed by 236 energy and sustainability professionals representing diverse industries and companies, with $100 million to $10 billion or more in annual revenue.

Below is some compelling data from the report:

Renewable energy is key to a decarbonized future. Global energy-related Co2 emissions could be reduced 70 percent by 2050, and renewables would account for about half of the emissions reductions, according to research. (Another 45 percent would come from increased energy efficiency and electrification.)

Getting close to those projections requires widespread support from the business community, and the report shows that support exists. Companies are helping cut emissions en masse by shifting to more clean, sustainable resources.

A majority of respondents reported having renewable energy projects underway or planned. And the rate topped 60 percent in four sectors: education,  health care, financial services and technology. Even the sector with the least amount of traction (industrial) still reported a respectable 39 percent adoption rate.

The movement toward renewables is likely due to C-level interest and support. Whether their role involves recommending, reviewing or approving projects, 82 percent reported being involved at some level in sustainability and renewable energy initiatives.

The impact on businesses is substantial because renewable energy projects help meet sustainability goals, build a stronger brand and benefit the bottom line. A recent study found that 72 percent of companies are pursuing renewable energy procurement, and 80 percent plan to build out their renewables portfolio via multiple types of transactions, such as offsite power purchase agreements and onsite generation.

It’s also important to mention financial return on investment has always been the obvious benchmark for energy and sustainability initiatives, but other criteria are now being widely considered. When asked about primary drivers for energy and sustainability efforts, cost savings was most often selected, 69 percent of the time, as one of the top three objectives. But other factors garnered high rates as well. Meeting internal and external goals ranked second (60 percent), and nearly half cited improving company brand, as well as mitigating environmental risks.

Knoxville’s LED streetlight upgrades are underway

Pilot locations for the City of Knoxville’s new LED streetlights are up and running.

The pilot locations have been serving as testbeds to be evaluated by the City, public stakeholders, and for residents to also get the chance to experience the new LEDs in action.

Since late last year, Knoxville has been gradually flipping the switch to energy-efficient lighting in several neighborhoods through these design and testing phases.

An interactive map on the City of Knoxville Office of Sustainability’s website shows select testbed areas where some of those high pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs have been converted to LEDs so far, from Western Avenue to parts of Chilhowee Drive.

According to the map, 16 locations in Knoxville have been tested out.

You may remember Knoxville chose Siemens to retrofit its nearly 30,000 streetlights in September 2017. The retrofit will cut the City’s streetlight operation budget in half by $2 million annually in energy and maintenance costs. With these savings, the investment is expected to pay for itself in less than ten years.

Other benefits include:

  • 50% more energy efficient than existing Knoxville streetlights
  • Greenhouse gas emissions savings, helping the City achieve its goal of reducing municipal greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020;
  • Greater reliability, and fewer outages, sustained by a 10 year luminaire warranty;
  • Improved light quality, including a reduction in light pollution and improved safety;
  • No disposal hazards.

Once the design and testing phase is complete, Siemens expects to begin installation of the new lights across the city later this year. All work is expected to wrap up by Summer 2019.

For more detailed information about this project, click here.

Officials cut ribbon on Schneider Electric’s Nashville Hub

State and local officials, alongside Schneider Electric of North America’s President and CEO Annette Clayton, cut the ribbon on the energy management company’s newest Nashville Hub.

Located at Two Franklin Park, the 158,000-square-foot campus is the largest Schneider office in the country.

Clayton opened the ceremony with the following remarks:

Throughout our history, Schneider Electric has been focused on one core belief: Life is On when energy is on, everywhere, for everyone, at every moment. It is our purpose and one that inspires us every day so our customers can solve the world’s challenges that they face.

Photo Credit: Schneider Electric

Today we live in an age of dramatic change: Urbanization and industrialization are growing in both speed and scale. At the same time, climate change consequences are happening faster.

This energy dilemma is reshaping economies and industries – challenging us to think and act differently.

We must be proactive. We must innovate. We must co-create our future.

This challenge to think and act differently is what brings us here today.

It’s the inspiration behind state-of-the-art facilities like our NashvilleHub that give us the infrastructure to better serve our customers, our people and our communities with solutions that meet the world’s future energy needs.

Our advanced EcoStruxure framework is integrated into the campus, enabling us to harness the power of the Internet of Things to achieve greater levels of efficiency, sustainability and energy savings. Everywhere you look, Schneider Electric products are doing everything from managing and optimizing energy use in our data centers, HVAC and power systems, to securing our building, and charging our electric vehicles.

For our customers, the NashvilleHub is the embodiment of innovation at Schneider Electric. It gives us a facility that fosters collaboration and growth. It will house engineering and research and development talent to become the birthplace of our next great solutions. The Hub is a perfect complement to the manufacturing facility in Smyrna where we manufacture highly efficient electrical panels and supplies.

For our people, we are now able to bring 850 of our employees together from multiple facilities in Middle Tennessee under one roof and into one collaborative and modernized environment.

The 158,000 square foot office, training lab and customer meeting space is one of the largest Schneider offices in the country. The building’s energy management and safety features are an example of the benefits that building codes can provide to work spaces and homes. It is also the latest within our global network that is purpose-built which allows our employees to select the workspace accommodations that best suit their workstyle by the day, or by the hour.

We have designed the space with employee well-being in mind, too. Employees now have purpose-built rooms on every floor for nursing mothers and prayer and meditation.

The campus includes a walking trail and complimentary fitness center, and the marketplace will include smart food choices to make prioritizing health easier for our people.

And for our Franklin community, this facility is our pledge to help make the greater Nashville area the hub for both technology and energy innovation.

Nationally, the advanced energy industry supports more than 3 million jobs.

And 325,000 Tennesseans are contributing $33.4 billion to the state GDP through these advanced energy related jobs.

We’re here to do more.

Strengthening our footprint in Middle Tennessee is a testament to the local talent we gain; the like-mindedness of the local officials who support clean energy, energy infrastructure, diversity and health; and the spirit of this great region that makes it an exciting place for our employees to live and work.

I want to thank the city of Franklin, its citizens and the commitment of our employees in the collective roles they have played in opening this world-class facility. Today, and in the years to come, Schneider Electric strengthens its presence and commitment in Middle Tennessee to deliver the products, services, and solutions to ensure that Life is On.

Thank you and again, welcome to the NashvilleHub.

Bridgestone Americas hosts TAEBC Annual Meeting featuring Nissan, new board members

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council wrapped up another successful Annual Meeting in Nashville thanks to Bridgestone Americas.

Bridgestone Americas recently moved into a brand new building in downtown Nashville deemed the Bridgestone Tower. The 30-story high-rise building provided a remarkable venue and demonstrated Tennessee’s surge in its advanced energy economy.

Attendees heard from featured guest Scott Becker, Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance for Nissan North America. His presentation focused on Nissan’s contribution to Tennessee’s advanced energy economy providing good-paying jobs for Tennesseans and the growth the company has experienced since its original decision to locate to Tennessee.

He also discussed Nissan’s corporate vision striving for Zero Emissions through its electric vehicles and Zero Fatalities through its autonomous drive technologies, all leading back to the Nissan LEAF.

Scott Becker presenting during TAEBC Annual Meeting.

Members also had the opportunity to hear from TAEBC’s newest board members in a panel moderated by Vice President Cortney Piper. Trish Starkey with Schneider Electric, Marc Gibson with UT, and Chris Bowles with Bradley were all formally appointed to serve on TAEBC’s board.

The newest board members were asked a variety of questions including what their thoughts were on Tennessee’s current advanced energy economy, outlooks for the future, and what areas within the state’s advanced energy ecosystem they felt could use improvement.

More: TAEBC welcomes newest board members Trish Starkey, Marc Gibson and Chris Bowles