Ridgeline Venture Law recognized for positive community impact as B Corp Best for the World

Ridgeline Venture Law was recognized for positive community impact based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab.

RVL is honored in the Best For Community list, which includes businesses that earned a Community score in the top 10 percent of more than 2,400 assessed Certified B Corporations. RVL is Tennessee’s only entry on the list of 226 companies spanning 90 industries and 34 countries. The full assessment measures a company’s impact on its workers, community, customers and the environment.

The Community portion of the B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s involvement in the local community, including its practices and policies around service and charitable giving. Honorees scoring in the top 10 percent set a gold standard for how business can be a force for good in communities around the world. RVL qualified by introducing triple-bottom-line business practices promoting environmental and social impact as metrics of success, in addition to profits. Locally, RVL’s Chattanooga office partners with Green|Spaces, Southeastern Climbers Coalition, and Access Fund to promote environmental stewardship and sustainability initiatives throughout the greater Chattanooga region.

Through its Cookeville office, RVL promotes advanced education and economic development opportunities for people of color and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds through partnerships with the Biz Foundry (rural entrepreneurship), Habitat for Humanity (low-income empowerment), IMPACT Cookeville (minority empowerment), Legal Assistance Volunteers for Patent Applicants (low-income entrepreneurship), and Tennessee Tech’s Center for Rural Innovation (rural entrepreneurship).

Local start-up Yellowstone Energy secures nearly $2.6 million DOE grant

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(Originally published on Teknovation.biz)

One of the inaugural start-ups in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads” program just had a big win.

Yellowstone Energy, spotlighted in this recent teknovation.biz article, was one of 10 recipients sharing up to $24 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that was announced this week. In Yellowstone’s case, it will receive almost $2.6 million from DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program to further advance its nuclear reactor technology.

Yellowstone was co-founded by Matt Ellis and Sam Shaner who met as doctoral classmates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT. Their goal is to develop an advanced nuclear reactor with the potential for faster and lower-cost deployment, at the same time, optimizing safety in order to provide a clean source of baseload electricity.

”We are excited to be chosen for an award under the ARPA-E MEITNER program,” the Co-Founders told us. “This ARPA-E award will allow us to focus on a key enabling component that has the potential to make advanced nuclear reactor designs safer and more efficient.”

Read the full story here.

TVA webinar reveals 2019 IRP schedule, next steps

The Tennessee Valley Authority hosted a webinar in May to provide transparency to stakeholders and the public at-large on the status of the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan.

The 2019 IRP is expected to provide TVA direction on how to best meet future electricity demand. Building upon the work done in prior plans, TVA has started the 2019 IRP to proactively address the changing utility marketplace.

TVA says this latest IRP will explore various scenarios related to the expansion of distributed energy resources in the Tennessee Valley. TVA also is seeking to improve its understanding of the impact and benefit of system flexibility with increasing renewable and distributed resources.

During the webinar, TVA leaders discussed some of the major themes received during the public comment and scoping period which began February 15 and wrapped up on April 16.

TVA received hundreds of comments during that time frame with topics ranging from:

  • Encouragement of clean energy initiatives, renewable energy, and research and development on DERs
  • Call for special attention to environmental justice/affected environment analyses on impacts to limited income households
  • General interest in energy efficiency measures and energy storage alternatives
  • General input on modeling, metrics/calculations and evaluation criteria
  • General comments on fuel diversification options

TVA will now be compiling a report summarizing the scoping input which will describe how TVA is responding to the input during the development of the IRP and the EIS. This scoping report will also detail scenarios, strategies, and energy resources being carried forward in the IRP and IRP EIS analysis. It’s important to note the scoping report is scheduled to be posted to the IRP website in early July 2018.

During the webinar, TVA also provided a schedule and timeline of future milestones regarding the 2019 IRP.

  • By Summer/Fall of 2018, a series of deep evaluations and analysis work will be completed, as well as some initial modeling will be drafted.
  • By Winter/Spring 2019, pending Valley-wide public meetings TVA will present its initial results and publish a draft EIS and IRP.
  • By Spring/Summer 2019, public meetings will have wrapped up and TVA says it will incorporate that input into the 2019 IRP.
  • By Summer 2019, a preferred plan and direction will be identified with TVA’s board approval and a final publication of the EIS and 2019 IRP will be available.

For a link to TVA’s 2019 IRP website, click here.

Energy Mentor Network company SkyNano Technologies wins as runner up in MegaWatt Ventures pitch competition

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SkyNano Technologies, an Innovation Crossroads Cohort One company and Energy Mentor Network startup, took home third place after competing in the Megawatt Ventures competition.

Anna Douglas, Founder of SkyNano Technologies, received a $10,000 check for her efforts.

SkyNano Technologies has developed an open system manufacturing technique to produce low cost, high value carbon nanotubes, a material with potential applications in a variety of areas from energy storage to consumer electronics.

Compared to traditional manufacturing processes that require high vacuum and high pressure gas flow systems, SkyNano’s patent-pending technology relies on the electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide, resulting in a process that is lower in cost and scalable for commercial applications. Aside from lowering the cost of carbon nanotubes, SkyNano’s technique offers a promising method for converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into useful functional nanomaterials.

Several promising cleantech companies from throughout the United States participated in MegaWatt Ventures—an annual clean technology business plan competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP).

Each team had the opportunity to give a 10 minute pitch followed by judges questions.  Judges consisted of seasoned investors, industry veterans, and technical experts representing an array of clean technology backgrounds and experience.

 The competition supports companies working on intellectual property-protected products, processes or technologies represented from the ten program offices of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

Many of the winning teams are spin-outs from university research labs and every competing team must be composed primarily of current university students.

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