Energy Mentor Network company Electro-Active Technologies featured in Waste360

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council runs the Energy Mentor Network in partnership with Launch Tennessee. Its goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry specific expertise. Electro-Active Technologies, an EMN company and Innovation Crossroads graduate, was recently featured in Waste360 for its zero-carbon, alternative fuel product. 

In the Waste360 article, Electro-Active Technologies’ Co-Founders Alex Lewis and Abhijeet Borole discuss how they use food waste combined with electricity to create clean hydrogen, a renewable source of energy that could cut greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel by up to 34%.

“In simplest terms, we use electrons and protons from food, which have electric charges, to make hydrogen,” Lewis told Waste360. 

Read the rest of the Waste360 article about Electro-Active Technologies here. To learn more about the Energy Mentor Network, along with its companies and mentors, follow this link

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Knoxville invests in advanced energy future

TVA and KUB to develop 200-MW solar farm, Mayor’s office outlines proposed investments

In 2019, the City of Knoxville set an ambitious clean-energy target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, compared with 2005 levels. Just last year, the Knoxville Utilities Board announced that 20 percent of the city’s electricity would come from renewable sources by 2023. Today, Knoxville is on its way to becoming a leader in the region for solar energy thanks to exciting new developments. 

TVA and KUB to develop 200-MW solar farm

To support Knoxville’s renewable energy transition, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced it has selected Origis Energy to build a 200-megawatt solar farm in Mississippi. KUB’s support also enabled 50 megawatts of new battery storage technology that will improve grid resiliency. 

“We take our commitment of being good stewards of our environment seriously, and we are thrilled to work with TVA to put our community on the map for renewable energy,” said Gabriel Bolas, KUB president and CEO, in a written statement. “This endeavor benefits residential and business customers who can know that their daily lives include green energy resources, leading the way to a sustainable future.”  

Mayor’s office outlines proposed investments 

TVA and KUB’s solar farm isn’t the only advanced energy news out of Knoxville. This past week, Mayor Indya Kincannon released her office’s proposed 2021-22 budget  that includes five key priorities, one of which is investing in a “clean and resilient future.” Using insight gathered from the Mayor’s Climate Council, the proposed budget involves:

  • $15.3 million in direct City support for Knoxville Area Transit (KAT), including $1.2 million for matching grants as KAT continues to convert its fleet to all-electric buses
  •  $150,000 for additional public electric vehicle charging stations and for charging infrastructure to support electrification of the City’s vehicle fleet
  • More than $4 million is committed to stormwater infrastructure and $721,000 is allocated to protect and expand Knoxville’s urban forest, both critical programs for resilience and a healthy environment

“We can and will lead by example in reducing carbon emissions,” said Mayor Kincannon in a written statement. “My proposed budget takes the next important steps toward reaching those goals. We’re building the transformational infrastructure now that will enable us to be cleaner and greener for generations to come.”

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Advanced Energy Business Roundtable for West Tennessee emphasizes importance of electrification, collaboration

Stakeholders from state government, higher education and the private sector discuss the state’s advanced energy sector and opportunities for future growth and collaboration

On April 13, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) hosted its first Advanced Energy Business Roundtable focused on West Tennessee. The event brought together individuals from three significant areas of the state’s advanced energy (AE) economy: state government, higher education and the private sector. Speakers spoke about the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain, creating AE jobs and how to boost state economic development through AE collaborations.

State Government 

The event began with insight from stakeholders in state government. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s Director of Business Development Chassen Haynes shared TNECD’s vision to create a cohesive statewide network to become the number one state in the country for the EV supply chain. He also discussed EV efforts that will cultivate an AE economy to attract and retain innovative businesses across the state.

“Governor Lee has charged our department with making sure Tennessee is at the forefront of these changes and making sure the state is positioned to make itself number one in the nation for EV production,” Haynes said. “It’s an exciting time for Tennessee and an exciting time for the automotive industry.”

Next, Launch Tennessee’s Chief Executive Officer Van Tucker spoke about the value of the Energy Mentor Network and providing easy access to capital for growing or emerging businesses.

“Our goal for the next fiscal year is that we’re going to put a focused strategy together to recruit, retain, expand, and grow our mentor network and advanced energy industry in the state of Tennessee,” Tucker said. 

Higher Education

Afterward, attendees heard from higher education partners. During her presentation, Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Chancellor Flora Tyding outlined TBR’s current AE focus across the state and what a transition to support the sector might look like. 

“We have a very succinct mission: student success and workforce development,” Tyding said. “We are your partners in the advanced energy environment.”

Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) President Claude Pressnell highlighted what private campuses are doing to explore and support AE development and how the private sector can collaborate with private institutions.

“One thing that I want to share with you all is the importance of collaboration, whether it be collaboration with the board of regents, independent colleges, the UT System, locally governed four-year universities, and whether you do that locally or statewide,” Pressnell said. 

Private Sector

Rounding out the event, attendees heard from two major private-sector players in the state’s AE economy. First, Silicon Ranch’s Chairman and TAEBC Board Member Matt Kisber emphasized  how collaboration in the AE economy works now and how it could work by implementing more strategy and intentionality with various stakeholders across the state.

“Organizations like TAEBC were developed to support bringing these various voices together so that they can collaborate, share information, and know who is out there that can fulfill and need or void in the development of a project, technology, or what’s necessary to move forward,” Kisber said.

FedEx’s Environmental Affairs & Chief Sustainability Officer Mitch Jackson wrapped up the presentation portion of the event by outlining FedEx’s transportation electrification goals, and speaking about how the state and AE economy can support these efforts, along ith opportunities for improvement.

“We announced we were going to take FedEx carbon neutral by 2040 for our global operations,” Jackson said. “Companies like FedEx are trying to transform not only themselves but their industries with respect to renewable energy, advanced technologies, zero carbon strategies and the like.”

Following the presentations, speakers answered a range of audience questions, including what are the biggest selling points for recruiting and retaining advanced energy businesses and specifics about EV developments in the state. 

“Having the ability to convene and organize all the stakeholders like we are doing today and continuing those dialogues and discussions, setting priorities, helping inform policy, it is going to be critically important,” Kisber said. “Bringing everybody together is going to be critically important so that we’re not just having one-off conversations but we’re talking as a community and focusing on how to move forward together.”

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Join the critical discussion on how to leverage advanced energy to ignite economic development despite pandemic uncertainty

If you aren’t already a part of the advanced energy economy, you are most likely thinking of how you can jump into this wave of innovation to position your organization toward future economic solutions. Where do you start? Who are your partners in making this pivot? How do you get better connected to find the skilled workforce needed to make your business more competitive and the state more attractive?

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) wants to help answer some of those questions. What resources does the state offer to support your growth or new interest in the advanced energy economy? How do you better engage with the higher education campuses around you to recruit employees?

Where can you recommend your employees go to get the education they need to make the pivot with you? How can you keep the discussions going with educational partners to ensure the ecosystem around your organization is working together towards strategic economic growth? How can you engage other businesses involved in the advanced energy economy and EV supply chain to create more alignment and cohesion?

Advanced Energy Virtual Business Roundtable – West Tennessee

TAEBC is bringing together government officials, business executives and higher education leaders next month to share their expertise and insight about how our state can create a collaborative network to drive economic development through the advanced energy (AE) sector. The first of three Advanced Energy Virtual Business Roundtables will take place April 13, 2021, beginning at 10:00 a.m. CT / 11:00 a.m. ET, and focus on West Tennessee.  

At the April event, attendees will hear brief presentations from speakers representing the three major stakeholders in the future of the AE economy: state government, higher education and private sector. However, the majority of the hour long discussion will be focused on hearing from business leaders and entrepreneurs in regards to what they are experiencing, what additional information they need and any questions they may have for the community. The point of this roundtable discussion is to advance Tennessee’s AE economy and become the number one state in the country for the electric vehicle supply chain through dialogue, networking and action items. 

Speakers representing these three areas include: Department of Economic and Community Development’s Director of Business Development Chassen Haynes, Launch Tennessee’s Chief Executive Officer Van Tucker, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tyding, Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association President Claude Pressnell, Silicon Ranch’s co-founder Matt Kisber, and FedEx’s Environmental Affairs & Chief Sustainability Officer Mitch Jackson.

Stakeholder #1: State government 

From the state government perspective, Hanyes will share the state’s vision-to create a cohesive statewide network to become the  number one state in the country for the electric vehicle supply chain. Additionally, these efforts will cultivate an advanced energy economy to attract and retain innovative businesses. Tucker will then share LaunchTN’s perspective and about the value of the Energy Mentor Network and providing necessary access to capital for companies across the state.

Stakeholder #2: Higher education 

Attendees will also hear from the higher education side, with Tydings discussing the Tennessee Board of Regents’ current advanced energy focus and outline what a transition to support AE might look like. Pressnell will provide perspective on how private campuses are exploring and supporting AE as well as how private sector partners can collaborate for future opportunities. 

Stakeholder #3: Private sector 

As a former Tennessee State Representative and TNECD Commissioner, Kisber has a unique perspective for bridging the gap between state government and the private sector. Speaking from the perspective of Silicon Ranch Corporation, Kisber will discuss how collaboration in the AE sector works now and how it could work in Tennessee with some strategy and intentionality. Lastly, Jackson will outline FedEx’s electrification goals and new sustainability goals, along with the progress they have made in this area in recent years. He will also discuss how the state and the overall AE economy can support the private sector and offer opportunities for improvement.  

Want to attend this event? Register here.

Tennessee Valley Corridor’s 2021 National Summit to explore “Power of Partnerships”

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is a proud sponsor of the Tennessee Valley Corridor’s upcoming 2021 National Summit on June 2-3, 2021, held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The theme for this year’s Summit is “The Power of Partnerships: National Leadership Through Regional Collaboration.”

For more than 25 years, the Tennessee Valley Corridor has worked to advance important federal missions and expand federal investments to create more private sector job opportunities across the five-state region.

TAEBC champions advanced energy as a job creation and economic development strategy. Key to our mission is establishing strategic partnership to connect assets with opportunities that further the Tennessee advanced energy economy. We also educate public officials and business leaders about the state’s advanced energy assets and inform policy that expands and strengthens the entire industry.  The “power of partnerships” is an essential element in reaching our goals.

Advanced energy is relatively new but refers to any technology that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure and more efficient. It includes manufacturers and companies that use advanced energy technologies, as well as professional service providers, researchers and entrepreneurs. Rather than favoring specific technologies, the phrase advanced energy is technology neutral. Any technology that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure and more efficient is in the bucket. Some examples include electric vehicles, bioenergy and smart grids.

According to our 2018 Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report, the advanced energy industry represents a $39.7 billion contribution to state GDP, employs 358,360 jobs, and includes 18,170 businesses across the state. Advanced energy injects billions into the state economy, creates high quality jobs for Tennesseans, fuels growth for existing businesses and attracts new corporate investment in the state.

TAEBC believes Tennessee’s advanced energy economy is truly thriving. Looking forward into 2021, we will pursue more collaborations and partnerships with Tennessee elected leaders, major institutions in the state and other TAEBC members as we continue to advocate for advanced energy.

A part of this plan, TAEBC looks forward to attending TVC’s 2021 Annual Summit. For over two decades, TVC has advanced important federal missions and expanded federal investments in the Tennessee Valley Corridor to create more private sector job opportunities across the region, which includes the advanced energy sector.

To celebrate our region’s advanced energy economy and strategic partnerships, join TAEBC at this year’s Summit! Only a limited number of Summit sponsorships with the opportunity to attend the in-person event are still available. Due to capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements, on-site attendance to this year’s Summit is strictly limited.

To learn more about sponsoring or attending this year’s event, click here.