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/

EU energy-focused delegation visits East Tennessee

Credit: Teknovation.biz

About a dozen representatives of a European Union (EU) delegation focused on energy finish a three-day educational trip to East Tennessee with two meetings today.

They will be the program for the weekly meeting of the East Tennessee Economic Council this morning in Oak Ridge. After that presentation, they will finish the series of meetings with discussions at the University of Tennessee.

The group was in Chattanooga yesterday. On Wednesday, they visited Oak Ridge National Laboratory after being hosted by Nazzy and Hash Hashemian of Analysis and Measurement Systems Corporation (AMS) at a luncheon in Knoxville arranged by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC). The discussion included members of the TAEBC and the EU delegation.

This is a photo of the attendees at the event.

TAEBC submits comments to TVA over 2018 rate change proposal

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council submitted the following comments to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) regarding its “2018 rate change draft environmental assessment (draft EA).”

To whom it may concern:

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.

Our definition of 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.

Distributed generation certainly fits that definition. Specifically, our main audiences are commercial and industrial end users, as well as large entities like municipalities, hospitals, universities, etc. While these audiences all appreciate least-cost power, they also are demanding more control over costs, use and how that power is generated. All of which directly relate to business opportunities for our members and those companies in Tennessee’s advanced energy economy—which contribute $33B to Tennessee’s GDP, employ nearly 325,000 people, include more than 17,000 business entities and pay an average annual wage that exceeds the state average.[1]

Furthermore, 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.[2] To remain competitive at recruiting and retaining business and industry, we know the Valley must offer an attractive environment for these companies to meet their goals and deploy advanced energy technologies.

As an example, Facebook selected North Georgia, outside of the TVA territory, for a data center because of its solar energy program offerings.[3]

Therefore, TAEBC suggests the TVA Board take “no action” related to 2018 rate change draft environmental assessment for the following reasons:

  • It is increasingly evident that the businesses of the TVA service area want more advanced energy and distributed energy resources (DER) customer options – businesses, both current and potential recruits, want access to additional capacity for renewable options – the proposed rate change alternatives (B, C, and D) significantly provide uncertainty and disincentives for those existing customers to remain and expand their operations but also are a huge deterrent for new economic development prospects to procure and advance their renewables/sustainability/technology missions in the Valley, thus reducing TVA’s historical competitive advantage of being a low cost option and customer focused utility that, at its core in the TVA Act, is supposed to prioritize technology innovation and advancement, which is TAEBC’s mission and objective.
  • TVA has indicated it wants to increase technological innovation and investment – all actions B, C, and D deter investment from all DERs in the Valley by changing the volumetric rates materially and imposing fixed charges to deter consumer investment in what TVA describes as “uneconomic DER.” TVA does not define “uneconomic DER.”  A transparent valuation of various DER technologies is essential to determining both the environmental and economic impacts of DERs. 
  • The draft EA states that the purpose of the rate change is to better align wholesale rates with the “underlying costs” to serve, but the EA does not disclose, for example, how those costs are divided between grid transmission infrastructure and amortized capital expenditures for generation units. 
  • TVA has not indicated what level of DER adoption presents an issue for cost recovery or grid access – this appears to be a punitive and/or premature charge that is not needed or necessary given the current DER adoption at this time, pending further TVA data or analysis.
  • The draft EA states, “TVA’s current energy prices over-incentivize consumer installation of DER,” and the “imbalance created by uneconomic DER investment means that costs are shifted to consumers throughout the Valley who do not invest in DER.”  Supporting documentation is not provided for either of these assertions. Understanding the inputs to these statements are important factors to determining market conditions, consumer demand (end users), economic impacts, and potential cost-shifting. 

TAEBC believes TVA is an asset to our region. In fact, TAEBC supports TVA in reaching its goal of becoming the energy company of the future and we are committed to partnering with TVA to that end.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments.

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 (2015). http://tnadvancedenergy.com/tennessee-advanced-energy-economic-impact-report/

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

[3] Walton EMC Chosen to Serve New Facebook Data Center with Renewable Energy (March 2018). https://www.morningstar.com/news/pr-news-wire/PRNews_20180307CL32967/walton-emc-chosen-to-serve-new-facebook-data-center-with-renewable-energy.html

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

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

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is welcoming three new board members amongst its leadership.

First, TAEBC invites Schneider Electric North America’s Trish Starkey to the board.

Trish serves as Business Development Manager for New Energy Landscape Strategic Alliances at Schneider Electric North America. In this position, she develops and supports commercial engagements across the Electric Utility and MicroGrid team.

She also serves as the ambassador to Schneider Electric’s most strategic partners including Dynamic Energy Networks and The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager with $174 billion in assets.

She leads strategic marketing and sales enablement initiatives that foster clear thought leadership and a strong position within the market.

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Trish has a Bachelors in Business Administration and Marketing.

Second, TAEBC welcomes University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Marc Gibson.

Marc Gibson serves as the Executive Director of Industry & Economic Relations at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In this position, he oversees industrial partnerships at the university, and he manages a business center that collaborates across multiple units on campus including the office of research, office of development, system level partnerships office, career services and others.

Some of his many duties involve executing fundraising efforts and reaching research partnership goals, and he identifies connection points for corporate entities to access university assets. He also works extensively with Oak Ridge National Laboratory Partnerships Directorate to connect multidisciplinary opportunities, while coordinating economic development efforts for the university.

Marc holds a Masters in Sport Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a Bachelors of Science in Marketing and Sports Management.

Third, TAEBC accepts Bradley’s Chris Bowles to the board.

Chris is a partner with the Bradley law firm in Nashville. His practice focuses on energy development and financing, including the real estate, tax incentives and regulatory aspects of project development.

His work on utility and commercial scale solar energy projects includes some of the largest solar developments in the eastern United States.

He is also active in energy policy, serving as the policy committee chair for the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association.

Prior to joining Bradley, Chris worked for Mayor Karl Dean as the first-ever Director of the Nashville Mayor’s Office of Environment and Sustainability.