Clean Line Energy Project Given Green Light from DOE: Announcement Fosters Job Growth in Southeast including Tennessee

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) announcement last week issuing a Record of Decision for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project is a major step towards TAEBC member, Clean Line Energy Partners meeting its goal of delivering low-cost, clean energy from wind farms in Oklahoma to consumers in the Mid-South and Southeast United States.

This decision also has significant impact for TAEBC’s mission of fostering the state’s advanced energy technologies, companies and CleanLineLogo-400x266jobs. The $2.5 billion project is expected to support thousands of jobs in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee, creating hundreds of manufacturing jobs within these states.

DOE’s decision was issued after nearly six years of study and evaluation, designating a preferred route for the direct current transmission line. The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will enable the delivery of 4,000 megawatts (MW) of low-cost, clean power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to customers in Arkansas, Tennessee and other states in the Mid-South and Southeast. The project will deliver the energy equivalent of four times the output from the Hoover Dam annually—enough power for more than one million American homes.

Clean Line has the potential to enable lower-carbon electricity, enhance system reliability and operate at a reasonable cost to consumers.

“We appreciate the support organizations like TAEBC have shown for the project,” said Mario Hurtado, Executive Vice President of Clean Line Energy.

With the DOE’s decision in hand, Hurtado said that Clean Line will enter the final stages of development on the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, targeting the project to begin operations in 2020.

The announcement marks the first use of Congressional authority conferred to DOE as part of Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 with the objective of promoting transmission development. Congress passed this provision when it was becoming clear that the nation’s transmission infrastructure was beginning to show its age and needed modernization. Congress recognized the need for a modern and resilient grid that could accommodate increasing demands for power with newly available resources. Clean Line’s project was deemed by DOE to satisfy the goals for which Congress established DOE’s authority.

“Moving remote and plentiful power to areas where electricity is in high demand is essential for building the grid of the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “Building modern transmission that delivers renewable energy to more homes and businesses will create jobs, cut carbon emissions, and enhance the reliability of our grid.”

For more information about the Clean Line project, including the Summary of Findings, which explains DOE’s decision at length, the Participation Agreement, the National Environmental Policy Act Record of Decision and more, visit

Hybrid Battery from ORNL Reduces Corrosion, Contributes to Grid Efforts

The nation’s commitment to grid modernization continues to pick up speed, with significant advancements being made in East Tennessee. On the heels of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) announcement of a commitment to $200 million for more than 80 projects to modernize America’s grid, TAEBC Charter member, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) introduced earlier in February a new approach to batteries that shows significant promise for grid usage.

Credit: ORNL

Credit: ORNL

ORNL’s battery approach uses inexpensive and plentiful aluminum and lithium – containing cathodes to increase capacity, cycling performance, and safety. According to ORNL’s release, the hybrid battery uses aluminum as the anode – a negative electrode – instead of lithium or graphite. It also uses a new cell design that significantly reduces the problem of corrosion caused by the strong acidic nature of electrodes.

All of this research work, published in the journal Chemical Communications, results in a battery that potentially offers alternative energy storage devices for multiple applications at a lower cost.

That’s good news for the nation’s progress toward grid modernization. ORNL is expected to be involved in more than 25 of DOE’s 80 funded grid projects, with the scope of work to include transformer research, analysis, and testing.

Grid modernization efforts explore the concept of microgrids, a localized group of electricity sources and loads that can disconnect and function on their own, separate from a traditional centralized grid.

Microgrids continue to be researched and investigated in Tennessee, both for their ability to function autonomously and for their capacity to operate as economic conditions warrant. Modernizing the nation’s grid remains a high priority for DOE with DC stating that the “grid is essential to reducing carbon emissions, creating safeguards against attacks on infrastructure, and keeping the lights on.”

DOE says increased funding is being made available to further strengthen ongoing efforts to improve electrical infrastructure in order to respond to the nation’s energy needs for decades to come.

As progress continues to be announced about grid modernization efforts, TAEBC will keep members updated on the latest from ORNL and DOE.



Reflecting on TAEBC’s 2015 Achievements & the Year Ahead

With a new year well underway, it’s time for the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) to take inventory of 2015’s successes while charting a course for 2016.

TAEBC has grown to become a leading voice for our advanced energy economy, championing both the state and national opportunities to capture our more than fair share of the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 3.54.53 PMFrom hosting Assistant Secretary David Danielson and Deputy Assistant Secretary Reuben Sarkar to an invitation to the White House and releasing the state’s first Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report, 2015 proved to be a year in which the TAEBC voice was heard clearly on a state, regional and national level.

In anticipation of our annual membership meeting in Nashville, TAEBC shares our top 10 accomplishments from 2015.

TAEBC Top 10 Year in Review

  1. Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report, the first document of its kind that defines the scope and scale of the state’s advanced energy sector and quantifies its economic impact. The report received statewide media coverage and recognition of advanced energy as an economic driver for Tennessee and a source of high quality jobs.
  2. U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary David Danielson Listening Session in Chattanooga, creating an opportunity for members to provide input on how DOE can continue to impact our economy.
  3. White House Forum on Connecting Regional Innovation Ecosystems to Federal and National Labs, attended by TAEBC President Tom Ballard with the purpose to ensure that federal labs continue to do more for regional economies.
  4. Tennessee Valley Authority’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which looks at how TVA will meet energy needs over the next 20 years. A group of our members formed a small sub-committee and worked together to draft and submit comments relevant to our mission— advanced energy as an economic development strategy.
  5. TVA’s newly formed stakeholder group, Distributed Generation – Information Exchange. TAEBC was selected to serve on this stakeholder group, sharing industry expertise to inform TVA’s distributed generation policies.
  6. American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit & Annual visit to Washington D.C. TAEBC delegates met with representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy and Senator Lamar Alexander and Congressman Chuck Fleischmann.
  7. “Opportunities in Energy” with U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkarfeaturing panel discussions on advancements in the automotive industry, advanced energy job growth, and power generation.
  8. DOE Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and minority business owners. TAEBC presented to this group, showcasing how advanced energy can be used as an economic development tool.
  9. Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative’s (CEMI) Southeast Regional Summit, hosted by DOE. TAEBC spoke to manufacturers, innovators, and federal and regional resources about our unique approach to advanced energy as an economic development strategy.
  10. Welcome new members: Schneider Electric, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Windrow Phillips Group, Dr. Bill Carswell, Hitachi, One Scientific, Trane, Shoals Technologies Group, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, Cherokee Farm, Dadeni Solar, LLC, Alstom (Charter Member), Nazzy Hashemian, and Balfour Beatty Investments.

Without a strong membership, TAEBC could not be the successful organization it is today. An organization with a powerful mission of fostering the growth of Tennessee’s advanced energy technologies, companies and jobs, helping the state gain its fair share of the global $1.3 trillion advanced energy market.

Save the date for the next membership opportunity, Wednesday, February 10th in Nashville, and help plan for a successful 2016.



Mission Innovation: New Initiative Touts Global Goals, has Tennessee Impact

When world leaders gathered in Paris at the end of last month to launch Mission Innovation, they collectively announced a commitment to accelerate clean energy innovation.


According to the leadership’s mission, each of the 20 participating countries, including the United States, will seek to double governmental and/or state-directed clean energy research and development investment over the next five years.  New investments will be focused on transformational clean energy technology innovations that can be scalable to varying economic and energy market conditions that exist in participating countries and in the broader world.

As the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) continues to champion the state’s advanced energy sector, efforts like Mission Innovation are anticipated are critical.

Mission Innovation recognizes, as does TAEBC, that entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses drive innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace. So far, 28 investors from 10 countries have joined the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to make an unprecedented commitment to invest capital in early-stage technology development that evolves from Mission Innovation breakthrough countries.

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, composed of more than 20 leaders in industry, investment, business and philanthropy from throughout the world, will work together based on the tenet that technology holds the key to clean energy. Scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs can invent and scale the innovative technologies needed to accelerate innovation and the foundation must be built upon large funding commitments for basic applied research.

As TAEBC continues to connect business executives, researchers, economic developers and investors with interests in advanced energy, much as the Breakthrough Energy Coalition is striving to do, our efforts will undoubtedly intersect with and support this new coalition.

It’s encouraging to see that the world recognizes what TAEBC has long known, that collaborating and connecting assets can advance the energy economy not only for our state but for the greater world.

As members, we should watch carefully the steps that Mission Innovation takes over the next year and consider how TAEBC may benefit from the initiative and likewise provide continuing support.


Guest Blog: Governor Haslam’s EmPower TN initiative plans to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy

By: Jim Plourde, Schneider Electric

There’s great news for the advanced energy economy and all residents of the state of TN! Governor Haslam’s EmPower TN initiative will further strengthen TN’s unique position to capture our fair share of a $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market by promoting energy efficiency, energy cost savings, and job creation in the advanced energy marketplace.

As an initiative to reduce energy costs and consumption in buildings owned and managed by the state, EmPower TN is expected to reduce utility operating costs by 28% over the next 8 years. In doing so, it will also foster the development of new energy efficiency technologies and methodologies, create demand for skilled labor, and lay the foundation for increased energy security in mission critical facilities.

Tennessee’s advanced energy industry includes numerous companies and organizations which are well positioned to address the Governor’s aggressive energy goals. Through the development of innovative energy efficiency solutions as well as energy cost savings programs, Tennessee’s advanced energy industry and the EmPower TN program are creating opportunities for energy entrepreneurs and skilled labor across the state.

Increasing energy efficiency in state owned and managed facilities not only reduces energy costs, it also sets the stage for a holistic environment of energy surety (safety, security, reliability, sustainability, and cost effectiveness). During times of disaster, such as that experienced with the 2010 flood in Middle TN, critical state services must remain responsive to the needs of citizens. This continuity of service can be assured through local control of distributed energy generation assets and intelligent energy management solutions including demand response, fast load shedding, and interconnection and integration of small distributed energy resources.

Tennessee’s advanced energy economy is uniquely prepared to meet the aggressive goals set forth in the Governor’s EmPower TN intiative. In addition to driving energy efficiency and cost savings, the state can use this opportunity to lay the foundation for a sustainable, secure energy environment.