Advanced energy sector soars

(Originally published: The Nashville Ledger)

Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council states the advanced energy sector is so strong in Tennessee that it outperforms the state’s overall economy, employing nearing 360,000 Tennesseans in more than 18,000 businesses that contribute almost $40 billion to the state’s gross domestic product.

The Council, a Knoxville-based non-profit trade group made of companies in the sector, promotes advanced energy as a jobs creator and economic development strategy in the state.

Examples of advanced energy fields include any technology that makes energy for transportation cleaner, safer, more secure and more efficient. Examples include wind, solar, and new nuclear technologies, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, lightweight composites in the automotive industry, natural-gas fueled trucks, bioenergy, pollution-control equipment, smart grids, combined heat and power, high-performance buildings, more efficient industrial technologies and power reliability.

“I think health care and advanced energy are both very important drivers for the state economy and employment,” says Matt Kisber, president and CEO of Silicon Ranch Corp., and TAEBC president. “Advanced energy accounts for nearly 14 percent of total state employment and those working in the sector earn an average wage of $59,665, significantly higher than the state’s economy-wide average of $44,317.”

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