Report spotlights importance of DOE to Tennessee economy and region

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation is an economic engine for the state of Tennessee, according to a report released by the East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC). The report studied the effects of DOE’s investment in Tennessee in fiscal year 2017.

This report details the scope and scale of DOE’s impact on Tennessee’s economy. It examined job creation, state GDP growth, private-sector procurements, payroll and pension disbursement, state and local tax contributions, and community development conferred on the state by DOE, as well as the ripple effects of this spending.

Key findings from the report include:

  • DOE’s economic impact on the state of Tennessee equals $5.6 billion.

           Tennessee’s gross domestic product increased by approximately $3.4 billion as a result of overall spending by DOE and its contractors. Additionally, $2.2 billion in total personal income was generated by DOE–related activities in the state.

  • More than 34,000 full-time jobs are supported by DOE activities, with a workforce that spans 50 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

           12,618 jobs were directly created by DOE and its contractors in Tennessee. An additional 21,878 jobs were generated by the indirect effects of DOE investment. For every one job created by DOE and its contractors, an additional 1.7 jobs were created across the state.

  • The private sector supports DOE’s missions in Oak Ridge.

           Of the approximately $1.1 billion in non-payroll spending from DOE and its contractors, more than $943 million went to Tennessee businesses for the procurement of raw materials, services, and supplies.

  • Over $32 million in state and local taxes were generated by DOE-related spending.

           A portion of these tax dollars enable the City of Oak Ridge to provide critical infrastructure to support DOE missions and also funds education and schools.

“This report confirms that the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation is critical to the state’s economic success,” ETEC president Jim Campbell said. “The men and women who work in Oak Ridge deploy science and engineering innovation to make Tennesseans’ quality of life better, our planet healthier and our nation safer.”

Beyond the billions in economic gain, the report confirmed substantial community and educational benefits from DOE’s presence in Tennessee. DOE and its contractors gave over $2.4 million in charitable donations in 2017. They contributed more than $627,000 to education initiatives in East Tennessee. DOE facilities in Oak Ridge attracted over 50,000 visitors, a number poised to grow from heritage tourism due to the recently announced Manhattan Project National Historical Park and History Museum to commemorate Oak Ridge’s role in ending World War II.

Oak Ridge is integral to our national security and nuclear nonproliferation efforts. It is home to leading scientists and researchers and nearly 2,300 patents and licenses, 127 of which were secured in 2017. State-of-the-art facilities enable these experts to conduct transformative science and technological research to tackle global dilemmas. These assets cement Tennessee’s stature in scientific leadership. Leading firms and experts in energy, nuclear technology, advanced manufacturing, computing and artificial intelligence are drawn to the region to partner with expertise found in Oak Ridge.

Research on DOE’s economic impact in the state of Tennessee in FY2017 was conducted in part by a Booz Allen Hamilton economist and initiated by the East Tennessee Economic Council.

To read the full report visit, https://eteconline.org/initiatives/doe-eis-fy17

TAEBC hosts lunch & learn with TVA’s newest board member Jeff Smith

TAEBC members had the opportunity to have an open dialogue with the newest addition to TVA’s board, Jeff Smith.

Smith was nominated by President Donald Trump on Sept. 21, 2017, and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 21, 2017. He was sworn in by U.S. District Judge Pamela L. Reeves of the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Director Smith lives in Knoxville and serves as the Executive Vice President of Operations for UT-Battelle and the Deputy for Operations at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

During the meeting, Smith discussed his leadership style was something that was passed down to him from his father by leaving things in a better condition then when you found it.

He also elaborated how when it comes to economic development, TVA has been working to recruit companies to the area by making things more simplistic. He mentioned several conversations have taken place at TVA as the energy company sees more industries moving to the area, they are brainstorming ways TVA can be involved in the process.

Jeff also seemed open to more focus groups and interactions with stakeholders that include pilot or demonstration projects with TAEBC members.

Energy Mentor Network team meets Innovation Crossroads Second Cohort

The Energy Mentor Network’s mentors had an opportunity to meet the Innovations Crossroads newly inducted second cohort at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and hear more about their exciting technologies and innovations.

Selected through a merit-based process, these scientists and engineers will have access to world-class science expertise and capabilities at ORNL, including Titan, the nation’s most powerful supercomputer; the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, DOE’s largest advanced manufacturing research center; and the Spallation Neutron Source, offering atomic-level insight into advanced materials.

The innovators also will be partnered with a powerful network of mentoring organizations in the Southeast to help them develop business strategies to advance their breakthroughs to market, including the Energy Mentor Network which provides non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads Innovators.

The Energy Mentor Network’s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry specific expertise.

The second cohort of Innovation Crossroads fellows and their projects include:

Donald DeRosa: High Voltage Electrolytes for Ultracapacitors

DeRosa is developing a high voltage electrolyte to significantly lower the cost and size of ultracapacitor modules. The resulting lower cost, smaller modules can be used in tandem with lithium ion batteries to dramatically improve the efficiency, range, and longevity of hybrid and electric vehicles. DeRosa is a doctoral candidate in nanoscience at the State University of New York at Albany and chief technology officer of Eonix.

Shane McMahon: Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing of Highly Crystalline Thin-Film Semiconductor Substrates

McMahon is developing a novel thin-film semiconductor recrystallization process that grows highly crystalline silicon and germanium thin-films as precursor substrates for flexible electronic devices. These flexible, large-area substrates will serve as a platform technology for thin-film transistors, sensors, displays, lighting, and photovoltaics. McMahon is a doctoral candidate in nanoengineering at the State University of New York at Albany and is founder and chief executive officer of Lux Semiconductors.

Justin Nussbaum: Large Area Projection Sintering

Nussbaum is developing a manufacturing grade, additive manufacturing (AM) system, called Large Area Projection Sintering (LAPS), that offers many advantages over new and traditional AM technologies. With LAPS, components can be economically created with increased production rates, reduced peak processing temperatures and extended exposure times, enabling processing of a broader range of materials while also providing superior mechanical properties. Nussbaum is a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at the University of South Florida.

Megan O’Connor: Electrochemical Recovery of Rare Earth and Specialty Elements

O’Connor is developing a recycling technology that utilizes carbon nanotube membranes for enhanced separation and recovery of solid rare earth and specialty elements (RESE) oxides.  This technology will provide a high-throughput electrochemical recovery device for recycling RESE as an alternative to the conventional energy-intensive extraction and refining processes currently used to obtain these metals for manufacturing. O’Connor holds a PhD in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University and is co-founder and chief technology officer of Nth Cycle.

Matthew Smith: Thermally Conductive 3D Printing Filaments

Smith’s new class of high thermal conductivity plastic composite material aims to improve heat dissipation, allowing for metal replacement and light-weighting, cost and component reductions, and improved performance and reliability. These materials also exhibit the unique ability to be 3D printed, allowing thermal engineers to rapidly and cheaply prototype multi-functional thermal solutions and enabling the design of heat transfer products that cannot be manufactured using traditional methods. Smith holds a PhD in materials science and engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is co-founder and chief technology officer of TCPoly.

TVA board approves rate structure change, imposing new fixed fee

(Credit: Knoxville News Sentinel)

The TVA board voted unanimously Thursday to change its rate structure, cutting its wholesale power rate by a half-cent per kilowatt-hour, and imposing a half-cent fixed fee per kilowatt-hour instead.

TVA officials say the controversial move won’t bring in more money than the current billing system, but critics denounce it as shifting more costs from big industrial customers down onto rate-paying homeowners.

TVA board members are meeting in Florence, Alabama, on Thursday.

At a 90-minute morning “listening session,” members of the public, environmental and social groups, and power industry representatives gave mostly negative comments on the proposal.

Primary reasons were greater impact on the poorest ratepayers, and the assertion that a flat fee will discourage energy efficiency.

Read the full story here.

TAEBC submits comments to TVA over 2019 IRP

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council submitted the following comments to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) regarding its 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) scoping.

To whom it may concern:

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) is pleased to submit the following comments to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) regarding its 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) scoping. 

TAEBC would like to reiterate our commitment to supporting TVA as it takes steps to proactively address the evolving utility marketplace. Our intent is to provide TVA with economic development data to inform the utility’s decision on how best to meet future electricity demands.

TAEBC champions advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy. We exist to foster the growth of Tennessee’s advanced energy technologies, companies and jobs. Advanced energy is technology neutral – anything that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure or more efficient is in the tent. At its core, we look to energy innovation as an economic development opportunity.

We encourage TVA to examine the advanced energy industry and Tennessee’s leadership position within the industry as it considers its 2019 IRP. This is a growing and lucrative sector of our economy. States and regions that provide an attractive home for this industry – and its workforce – will be rewarded with jobs and capital investment.

For example, Tennessee’s advanced energy economy contributes $33 billion to our state’s GDP, employs nearly 325,000 people, includes more than 17,000 business entities and pays an average annual wage that exceeds the state average.[1]

Globally, advanced energy is a $1.4 trillion industry. That is almost twice the size of the global airline industry and nearly equal to worldwide apparel revenue.[2]

TAEBC encourages TVA to consider how its IRP might encourage or discourage economic development, capital investment and jobs in our region from the advanced energy sector. This includes companies that 1) are directly engaged in the advanced energy industry (i.e. manufacture advanced energy widgets), 2) deploy advanced energy technologies as part of a commitment to corporate sustainability and 3) provide professional services (i.e. installers, engineers, etc that locate operations and talent in the region to service regional customers).

TAEBC has seen Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies across the country and Tennessee commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency targets or establish sustainability goals.[3] To remain competitive at recruiting and retaining business and industry, the Valley must offer an attractive environment for these companies to meet their goals and deploy advanced energy technologies.

As an example, Amazon specifically mentions “sustainability” in its HQ2 FAQ page – noting the company’s commitment to deploy advanced energy technologies at its facilities. The state that is selected for Amazon’s HQ2 will be rewarded with a $5 billion construction project and as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.[4]

According to a report from Ceres that examines data provided by Fortune 500 companies, the largest companies in the United States are steadily increasing their clean energy and energy efficiency efforts while improving their bottom lines – a trend that is having an important role in the decarbonization of the U.S. electric power sector in recent years.[5] From the report: 

“Overall, nearly half of the companies in the 2016 Fortune 500 have set targets to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), improve energy efficiency, and/or increase renewable energy sourcing—up five percentage points from our last report in 2014.

The strongest efforts are among Fortune 100 companies, with 63 percent adopting or retaining goals. In addition to the steady overall increase, the report also shows strong improvement among the smallest 100 companies in the Fortune 500, with 44 percent of these setting goals in one or more categories, up 19 percentage points from 2013.”

We encourage TVA to use the IRP to increase technological innovation and investment in the Valley so that we may seize this opportunity and emerge on the winning end of this trend, rather than fall behind.

With these objectives in mind, we offer the following guidance for the IRP process:

●      Ensure there is a collaborative, public, open stakeholder process for developing the IRP.
●      Resource planning should include both TVA-built resources and procured third-party resources; as well as take into consideration customer-sited and demand-side management resources. Correctly valuing distributed energy resources (DERs) is critical to integrating the benefits they offer to both demand and supply side operators. Valuing a stack or system of DERs is a challenge that must be addressed as the net benefits may increase when certain technologies are used together.

 

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments. TAEBC stands ready to assist TVA as it  becomes the energy company of the future.

Sincerely,

Cortney Piper

Vice President, TN Advanced Energy Business Council

606 W Main Street, Suite 250, Knoxville, TN 37902

P: 865-789-2669

Cc TAEBC Board of Directors

      Matt Kisber, President
      Steve Bares, Secretary

Tom Ballard, Immediate Past President
Jeff Kanel
Trish Starkey
Marc Gibson
Jim DeMouy
Mary Beth Hudson
Chris Bowles

[1] Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report, TN Advanced Energy Business Council (2015). http://tnadvancedenergy.com/tennessee-advanced-energy-economic-impact-report/

[2] Advanced Energy Now, 2017 Market Report, Advanced Energy Economy (2018). http://info.aee.net/hubfs/PDF/AEN-2017-Market-Report.pdf

[3] More Companies Set 100% Renewable Energy Goals in 2017, Energy Manager Today (December 2017). https://www.energymanagertoday.com/100-renewable-energy-goals-2017-0173841/