TAEBC, LACI webinar highlights transportation electrification as a job creation and economic development opportunity

On August 12, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council hosted a webinar featuring the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). During the event, panelists discussed the status of a $150 billion federal stimulus proposal to strengthen our nation’s transportation infrastructure and what it could mean for Tennessee.

webinar screenshotAlongside 50 other cleantech companies, organizations and government entities, TAEBC signed on to this proposal in July to once again look to the advanced energy sector for economic recovery. The webinar highlighted what this kind of investment could mean for Tennessee as state leaders eye Tennessee becoming the top spot for the country’s EV supply chain and implement statewide electrification plans.

Featured speakers included Michael Swords, VP of Government Affairs & International Relations at LACI; Michelle Kinman, Director of Transportation at LACI; and Cortney Piper, TAEBC’s Executive Director. Piper opened the webinar, telling attendees that the proposal aligns with TAEBC’s belief that transportation electrification can be used as a job creation and economic development opportunity.

Swords and Kincman spoke about LACI’s commitment to “building an inclusive green economy” and discussed the recommended actions included in the proposal. These recommendations include:

  • $25 billion for zero emissions vehicle manufacturing, assembly and adoption
  • $85 billion for zero emissions infrastructure investment
  • $25 billion for zero emissions public and active transit
  • $12.5 billion for workforce development and job training
  • $2.5 billion for innovation ecosystem, cleantech startups and related small businesses

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Kinman said the proposal has gained significant traction over the past few months and called it a “nationwide effort” to ensure the country is “putting Americans back to work in ways that will advance the clean energy goals.” 

Regarding next steps, Swords said that LACI is working closely with organizations in Washington D.C. and having nearly daily conversations with legislators or their staff to gain traction on the recommended actions. 

“There is growing bipartisan support for some of the ideas we have outlined in the proposal,” Swords said. “We’re confident that we’re going to get some movement on some of the items.” 

Loved the webinar and want to view the presentation again? Download it here.

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

Kauffman Foundation selects Launch Tennessee to form first-ever Entrepreneurs’ Policy Network

The Kauffman Foundation recently announced it has selected six entrepreneur support organizations, including Launch Tennessee, as grant recipients to form the first-ever Entrepreneurs’ Policy Network.

The Entrepreneurs’ Policy Network will be an alliance of organizations that will bring the voices of entrepreneurs to policy debates at the state level.

Launch Tennessee has partnered with the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council to manage the Energy Mentor Network. The Energy Mentor Network’s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startup by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry specific expertise.

Entrepreneurs are the beating heart of the American economy, but they typically are too busy building their businesses to make their voices heard in public policy, resulting in more barriers to new business creation and waning business startup rates.

The Kauffman Foundation has committed $1.9 million in grant funding for this initiative which will be awarded to Launch Tennessee, Bunker Labs, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, Enterprise Center of Johnson County, Metropolitan Economic Development Association, and Venture Hall.

As members of the Entrepreneurs’ Policy Network, the organizations will:

  • Identify state policies that inhibit entrepreneurship
  • Educate policymakers about the impact of those policies in erecting barriers to entrepreneurship
  • Build support for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship generally
  • Facilitate informational interactions between policymakers and entrepreneurs

Read the official announcement here.

Companies with aggressive sustainability targets expand facilities in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) is staying busy as more companies choose to expand into the Volunteer State with a focus on incorporating more advanced energy technologies into their facilities.

Within the month of June, both Gap Inc. and Stanley Black & Decker have announced to upgrade their existing facilities in Tennessee.

Gap Inc. representatives revealed the company would be investing $41.7 million in its Gallatin distribution campus. The new capital investment would go towards technology upgrades as Gap Inc. expands its online fulfillment capabilities.

This would create more than 500 jobs at the center in Sumner County, further strengthening economic development within the community.

Gap Inc. has set ambitious goals to foster cleaner global business by revealing back in January 2016 it would reduce its carbon footprint by 50 percent from 2015 levels by the end of 2020. That announcement came after the company had already surpassed its previous goal of reducing emissions from 2008 levels by 20 percent by the end of 2015 across its U.S. operations.

To further enforce these goals, the clothing retailer released a statement following the current administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

“Gap Inc. remains committed to doing our part to act on climate. We will continue to work with like-minded businesses, NGOs and other stakeholders to support solutions that will create a more sustainable and economically strong future for the people and communities touched by our business around the world. It’s not only the right thing for the planet, but also the right path forward for business growth, job creation and human health.”

Stanley Black & Decker announced earlier this month the company would upgrade its existing facility in Jackson, Tennessee by investing $29 million into the location.

The industrial tool manufacturer will relocate new lines of production and product development to its facility in Madison County, creating approximately 255 new jobs.

Stanley Black & Decker has set sustainability standards of its own, by committing to reduce energy consumption within its facilities by 20% as well as reduce its carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 2015 levels.

Also for the sixth consecutive year, the company has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America. This list is recognized as a benchmark for investors.

Schneider Electric to Create Jobs, Open Regional Office in Franklin, TN

TAEBC member, Schneider Electric recently announced that the company will consolidate its existing Middle Tennessee operations in Davidson and Rutherford Counties to Williamson County, opening a major Southeast regional office in Franklin.

The consolidation will relocate approximately 900 current employees and create 250 new jobs. Schneider Electric’s regional office will be located at Two Franklin Park in a newly constructed 150,000 square foot space, which is slated to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2017. The workforce will be comprised of engineering, sales, R&D and corporate functions for several national and global business units.schneider-electric-logo

Schneider Electric is a global company that specializes in energy management and automation by developing connected technologies and solutions to manage energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable.

“The state of Tennessee has long been a hub of innovation for Schneider Electric, and we are happy to maintain our strong commitment to the communities where we live and work,” said Annette Clayton, CEO and president of Schneider Electric North America. “Our new facility in Franklin will be our largest office in the country, creating an environment that encourages collaboration with customers and employees. The facility will be designed with the Schneider Electric vision of workplace collaboration and energy efficiency and will create a center of leadership and excellence.”

“We thank Schneider Electric for choosing Franklin for its regional office and creating 250 new jobs in Tennessee,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said. “Many companies have selected Tennessee as a base for their operations, and we are proud they call our state home. (This) announcement is great news not only for Williamson County, but for the entire state as it supports our goal to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~$30 billion in FY2015, 160,000+ employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Schneider’s connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. Learn more at www.schneider-electric.com.

To read the official announcement, visit here.