Register for Opportunities in Energy 2020!

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council will host its annual Opportunities in Energy 2020 event on December 8, 2020, beginning at 3:00 pm EST. This virtual event will feature TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe as we discuss making Tennessee a destination for the electric vehicle supply chain and an Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report preview.

Confirmed speakers  include:

  • Bob Rolfe, TNECD Commissioner
  • John Hopkins, CEO, IACMI
  • Mike Swords, Transportation Electrification Partnership/ LA Cleantech Incubator
  • Tom Rogers, President and CEO, UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm
  • Matt Murray, Director, Howard H. Baker Jr. Center
  • Amy Henry, Director, Transformative Innovation, TVA
  • Marc Gibson, Associate Vice Chancellor of Research, University of Tennessee

Last year, Opportunities in Energy featured Majid Khan, Managing Director of Strategy and Business Development at Verizon, at The Square Room at Market Square in Downtown Knoxville. Khan spoke talk about 5G and the future of energy in our region and the nation as a whole. Learn more about the 2019 event here.

Register for Opportunities in Energy 2020 here! We hope to see you there.

TAEBC Lunch and Learn with TVA emphasizes advanced energy priorities for the Valley, importance of transportation electrification efforts

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council hosted a virtual Lunch and Learn with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Jeannette Mills, Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer, on November 18. Mills was joined by three other special guests from TVA: Dan Pratt, Vice President of Customer Delivery; Amy Henry, Director of Transformative Innovation; and Aaron Melda, SVP of Transmission Power Supply and Support.

Mills drives TVA’s vision and execution for relationships with customers, communities, government officials, stakeholder groups, and regional industry. She also oversees TVA’s economic development activities and its role as regulator. Jeannette came to TVA in February 2020 with over 30 years of commercial and regulatory experience in the energy, utility, and consumer services sectors.

During her presentation, Mills spoke about TVA’s advanced energy priorities, COVID-19 response efforts, economic development work, long-term partnerships, and Flexibility Option. She discussed the ways advanced energy serves as an economic development driver in Tennessee. Areas include the lithium ion battery market driving original equipment manufacturer expansion (OEM); TVA’s generation mix and renewable solutions encouraging recent electric vehicle (EV) and EV OEM announcements; and economic development partnerships with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Speaking about Flexibility Options for local power companies (LPCs), Mills discussed a few notable flexibility projects and said TVA believes the initial 3-5 percent flexible generation enabled through the option is “a starting point to learn together with the LPCs.”

“We’re really excited about this new component of flexibility and so are our local power companies,” said Mills. “We believe the flexibility projects are a win-win for everybody.”

Regarding EVs, Mills reiterated TVA’s approach to accelerate EV adoption through partnerships to remove market barriers in key areas: charging infrastructure availability; EV availability and offerings; innovative and supportive policies; and consumer awareness. She mentioned the TVA Board of Directors recent approval of a new commercial rate structure to promote the expansion of EV charging infrastructure.

“The growing EV market is a significant opportunity for TVA and the Valley as a whole,” she said.

Looking ahead at TVA’s transformative innovation initiatives, Mills outlined the six key technologies: storage integration, EV evolution, grid transformation, connected communities, advanced nuclear solutions, and decarbonization options.

At the close of her presentation, Mills invited attendees to register for the “2019 IRP Near-Term Action Update” on December 9 from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. EST. The virtual event will provide an update on the progress on near-term actions in the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan. Topics include TVA’s fleet, grid transformation, energy usage and renewable energy. Register here.

During the Q&A session, Mills was joined by Pratt, Henry, and Melda. Panelists answered questions on a wide variety of topics, including how TVA plans to transform the grid in the next few years and TVA’s Community Care Fund, which provides matching funds to address hardships created by the pandemic in families and communities. They also answered several questions on the topic of EVs.

“EVs are a perfect sweet spot in the Valley for the three Es we talk about,” said Pratt, highlighting the energy, economic development, and environmental benefits of EV growth in the state. “The Valley is perfectly situated to help this EV technology grow and expand.”

Cortney Piper, Executive Director of TAEBC, provided closing remarks by thanking panelists and attendees. She discussed TAEBC’s Op-Ed, “Transportation electrification can recharge Tennessee’s economy” and the organization’s commitment to working with TVA and other stakeholders and desire to serve as a resource and partner in pursuing advanced energy strategies.

“We are in a very unique position to use energy again as an economic development and job creation strategy to pull us out of this recession,” Piper said. “And as an organization, we believe advanced transportation, specifically, which would include electric vehicles, has great, great potential.”

Missed or loved the event? Watch the recording or view Mills’ presentation.

TVA, Origis Energy to power Google data centers with 100% renewable energy

(Originally published on The Chattanoogan)

The Tennessee Valley Authority said Monday that the new 100-megawatt solar facility in Obion County, Tn. will supply carbon-free energy to Google’s data centers in Clarksville, Tn. and Hollywood, Al.

Florida-based solar developer Origis Energy is using TVA’s nationally recognized Green Invest program to develop the solar farm.

“The Green Invest program helps customers like Google meet their long-term sustainability goals with new renewable energy projects,” officials said. “In the past two years, Green Invest has generated $1.4 billion in economic activity in TVA’s service area.”

“TVA’s Green Invest can deliver clean, reliable renewable energy at a competitive price – stimulating growth across our seven-state region and giving our region a competitive advantage through public power,” said Chris Hansen, TVA vice president, Origination and Renewables.

Through a long-term power purchase agreement, Origis Energy will own and operate the plant, using industry leading land stewardship techniques. The project will create more than 300 construction jobs, with additional employment for eight to10 fulltime operations and maintenance staff. Origis plans to have the solar facility operational by the end of 2022, pending environmental reviews.

“This Tennessee solar milestone is another demonstration of the success of TVA’s Green Invest partnership,” said Johan Vanhee, Origis Energy chief commercial officer and chief procurement officer. “Such utility innovations are helping Google reach its aim to be the first major company to operate carbon free by 2030. We are very pleased to add 100 megawatts to this goal while contributing to the economic development of Obion County.”

To power the data centers, Google had already purchased a total of 266 megawatts of power generated by multiple solar farms linked into the TVA electric grid.

“Google is the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy and our goal is to run our business on carbon-free energy everywhere, at all times, by 2030,” said Reid Spolek, with Data Center Energy Strategy at Google. “Working with TVA and Origis through Green Invest will help move us closer to this goal.”

Monday’s announcement comes on the heels of four other major Green Invest deals TVA completed this year: General Motors, Vanderbilt University, Knoxville Utilities Board and Facebook.

“TVA is a job creator, and we are looking for creative ways to use our solar programs to bring high-paying jobs to the communities we serve,” said Mr. Hansen. “By integrating public-private partnerships with clean energy, we can make our region the premier destination for businesses that want to achieve their sustainability goals.”

Advanced Energy 101 series emphasizes benefits of advanced energy solutions for LPCs across the Tennessee Valley

TAEBC and Seven States Power recently wrapped up the virtual Advanced Energy 101 webinar series for local power companies. The three-part series focused on combined heat and power technologies; energy storage and demand response; and financing models for distributed generation.

The first webinar, “Combined Heat and Power,” featured panelists: Isaac Panzarella, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Southeast Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership (CHP TAP) located at North Carolina State University; Emily Robertson, Business Development Team Manager, 2G Energy; and Ben Edgar, CEO, White Harvest Energy. 

Panelists spoke about the benefits of combined heat and power (CHP), pathways for utility involvement in CHP projects, types of CHP systems, and who might benefit from this advanced energy technology. Edgar concluded with a case study of White Harvest Energy’s installation of a 4 x 2,000 kW CHP facility at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

During an audience Q&A, Robertson remarked that standard CHP candidates would be “hospitals, universities, wastewater treatment plants, food waste producers” and “manufacturing facilities that have round-the-clock operations.” She noted that mining, renewable natural gas, and grocery store industries are also becoming increasingly interested in CHP. Panzarella added that he is seeing rising interest from hotels, along with state and local government facilities due to a need for grid “resiliency” and to protect critical infrastructure.  

The second webinar in the series, “Energy Storage and Demand Response,” featured panelists: Bradley Greene, Energy Storage Manager, Signal Energy; Clint Wilson, VP, Engineering & Energy Innovations, Seven States Power; and Simon Sandler, Project Engineer, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University.

Panelists provided an overview of energy storage and demand response; emphasized the value of storage for LPCs; discussed relevant energy storage programs and projects; and talked about the benefits of this technology for LPCs. In his presentation, Wilson highlighted successful energy storage systems in the Tennessee Valley, including Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage. 

Answering an audience question about critical factors LPCs should weigh when considering battery storage, Wilson said “all LPCs can participate in battery storage” and reminded attendees it does not fall under TVA’s flexibility provision, where LPCs may generate up to 5 percent of their own energy. Answering a question about the typical lead time for an energy storage system, Greene and Wilson estimate anywhere from eight to 18 months, while Sandler said the time could be 12 to 24 depending on the system. 

The final webinar, “Traditional and Innovative Financing Models for Distributed Generation,” featured panelists: Steve Seifried, Tennessee Solutions Executive, Ameresco; Christian Dick, Sr. Project Developer, Large Scale Distributed Energy Resources, Ameresco; Matt Brown, Vice President, Business Development, Silicon Ranch Corporation; and Virginia A. Williams, Senior Vice President, Project Finance, Silicon Ranch Corporation. Steve Noe, Director, Strategic Energy Solutions, Seven States Power, provided opening and closing remarks.

During the webinar, panelists discussed LPC goals and definitions for distributed energy; financing and ownership models; and how to procure the optimal partner and solution. Matt Brown said, “As an LPC, understand your goals and what you as a customer want to achieve. We as an industry want to strategically locate facilities that add resiliency and benefits to all involved.” They spoke about financing tools and structures, along with opportunities and questions LPCs should consider in determining the right financing model for future projects. 

“I want to thank TAEBC for their leadership in the Valley and sponsorship of the series,” said Noe in his closing remarks. 

Did you miss any of the Advanced Energy 101 webinars? Follow these links to watch “Combined Heat and Power (Passcode: xm73Vk@x),” “Energy Storage and Demand Response (Passcode: s3adDu++),” and “Traditional and Innovative Financing Models for Distributed Generation (Passcode: a3*3Sf?I).”

Want to view the panelists’ presentations? From the first webinar, here are Panzarella, Robertson, and Edgar’s presentations. For the second event, here are Greene, Wilson and Sandler’s presentations. Lastly, here is Seifried’s presentation from the final webinar. 

Please visit the TAEBC calendar for future events.

Register for a TVA Lunch and Learn with Jeannette Mills!

Join TAEBC for a virtual lunch and learn with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Jeannette Mills, Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer, on Wednesday, November 18, beginning at 12:00 p.m. EDT! Register today to attend!

Jeannette Mills drives TVA’s vision and execution for relationships with customers, communities, government officials, stakeholder groups, and regional industry. She also oversees TVA’s economic development activities and its role as regulator. Jeannette came to TVA in February 2020 with over 30 years of commercial and regulatory experience in the energy, utility, and consumer services sectors.

During the webinar, Jeannette will share about TVA’s advanced energy priorities, Flexibility Proposal, long-term partnerships, and more. The event will also feature two special guests from TVA: Dan Pratt, Vice President of Customer Delivery, and Dr. Joe Hoagland, Vice President for Innovation and Research.

This event free for TAEBC members and elected and government officials. It is $15 for non-members. The webinar will be presented via Zoom with time for audience Q&A.

Last year, TAEBC held a Lunch and Learn featuring TVA board member Jeff Smith and TVA’s newest CEO and President Jeff Lyash. Read more about that event here. Want to attend this upcoming event with Jeannette Mills? Register here.