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.

Advanced Energy 101 for LPCs: Traditional and Innovative Financing Models for Distributed Generation

Traditional and Innovative Financing Models for Distributed Generation: Advanced Energy 101 for LPCs. RSVP here
Passcode: a3*3Sf?I

About this Event

TVA responded to stakeholder input and market demand for more advanced energy options when it announced the Flexibility Proposal earlier this year. The Flexibility Proposal gives local power companies the opportunity to self-generate or procure distributed generation. Technologies and solutions seem limitless and ever changing as utilities try to navigate how to become energy companies of the future. So how do local power companies start exploring options that are best for them, their customers, and their specific demands?

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and Seven States are co-hosting an “Advanced Energy 101” webinar series for local power companies to learn more about distributed generation options, advanced energy and finance models.

The third webinar in our series is “Traditional and Innovative Financing Models for Distributed Generation.” Panelists include:

  • Steve Seifried, Ameresco
  • Christian Dick, Sr. Project Developer, Large Scale Distributed Energy Resources, Ameresco
  • Virginia A. Williams, Senior Vice President, Project Finance, Silicon Ranch Corporation

Steve Noe, Director, Strategic Energy Solutions, Seven States Power, will provide opening and closing remarks.

Webinars will be presented via Zoom in an interactive format and include ample time for audience Q&A.

TAEBC and TVA hold webinar to discuss the future of distributed generation in Tennessee

Left to Right: Cortney Piper, Interim Director, TAEBC, Joe Hoagland, Vice President of Stakeholder Relations, TVA, Liz Upchurch, Watershed Representative, TVA

Left to Right: Cortney Piper, TAEBC, Joe Hoagland, Vice President of Stakeholder Relations, TVA, Liz Upchurch, TVA

TAEBC hosted a variety of companies including Nike, FedEx, Lallemand American Yeast, Jones Lang LaSalle, Thompson Power, Siemens Medical and TRANE as well as companies from across the state to discuss the future of distributed generation in Tennessee with Joe Hoagland, Vice President of Stakeholder Relations, TVA.

Joe Hoagland discussed how to model and understand clean energy opportunities from a utility perspective and provided some insight on the future of distributed generation in the Valley.  One thing is certain: distributed generation is gaining in popularity and will continue to grow as part of the region’s energy future.  Commercial and industrial users are interested in low cost, cleaner energy that has high reliability and are exploring distributed generation sources as one way to help achieve these goals.  Yet as distributed generation evolves, it creates challenges to the overall grid system to continue to be low cost and reliable.

So, a key challenge for electric utilities is determining how to respond to marketplace demand for distributed generation while maintaining high reliability and competitive rates. That’s where your input comes in.

Joe Hoagland and TVA encouraged all end users to use him as a resource, in addition to the online resources such as the draft IRP expected in Spring of 2014. TAEBC will also continue to partner with TVA for in-person listening sessions in early 2015. Stay tuned!

For a copy of the webinar presentation, click here.

Three Distinctive Features of Tennessee’s Energy Economy: Part Two

Every state’s potential for the expansion of advanced energy technologies is shaped by economic factors and unique assets. TAEBC identified three distinctive features of Tennessee’s energy economy that together reflect the challenges and opportunities for the expansion of advanced energy technologies:

  1. High Per-Capita Energy Consumption
  2. A Gap in Personal Income
  3. The Potential of Three Major Players (and Who are They?)

In our last blog post, we elaborated on Tennessee’s high per-capita energy consumption, and for this post, we’ll focus on the gap in personal income.

While the size has fluctuated over the last three decades, there remains a historic gap between personal income in Tennessee and the national average. Although related indirectly to energy, this gap presents an opportunity in some regions of Tennessee to promote advanced energy as a vehicle for new companies and jobs.

While the U.S. per capita income rate grew by 72 percent between 1995 and 2010, income for Tennesseans increased by only 64 percent. Slower growth in Tennessee’s economy was accompanied by a reversal of the recent trend toward reaching the average U.S. per capita income. From the high water mark of 92 percent in 1995, Tennessee’s per capita income by 2012 had dropped to 88 percent of the national average, the lowest ratio in 17 years.[i]

Tennessee also required a longer period to recover from the economic deterioration that occurred from 2008-2010. The state’s unemployment rate of 6.7 percent in March 2014 represented the first time Tennessee had matched the national jobless figure since 2008. Statewide rates of unemployment and personal income serve to distort Tennessee’s economic picture, in which some regions are doing quite well while others continue to perform far below the state average.

This income and employment disparity among Tennessee’s regions is part of the context for discussing the state’s potential for creating advanced energy technology jobs.

A growing number of financially constrained local governments are looking at distributed generation and energy savings performance contracts as ways of reducing utility costs. The private sector increasingly is looking to cleaner sources of energy as a means of meeting sustainability goals and assuming more control over electricity costs. Many rural communities burdened with sustained double-digit unemployment may be particularly receptive to the idea of transitioning the local economy to include more advanced energy jobs. Likewise, the state of Tennessee has considerable flexibility in authorizing incentives for companies to locate in communities of high unemployment. Laid against the backdrop of a $1.1 trillion global economic opportunity presented by advanced energy, the state’s economic profile, and in particular the need to promote new jobs in a number of depressed regions, will be important factors in future discussions of how best to encourage the continued growth of an advanced energy economy in Tennessee.

[i]SA1-3 Personal Income Summary. Bureau of Economic Analysis. U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved from http://www.bea.gov.