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: Energy Storage and Demand Response

Energy Storage and Demand Response: Advanced Energy 101 for LPCs. RSVP here.
Passcode: s3adDu++

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 second webinar in our series is “Energy Storage and Demand Response.” Panelists include:

  • Bradley Greene, Energy Storage Manager, Signal Energy 
  • Clint Wilson, VP, Engineering & Energy Innovations, Seven States
  • Simon Sandler, Project Engineer, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University

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

TAEBC and Seven States co-hosting Advanced Energy 101 series for LPCs

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 first webinar in our series is “Combined Heat and Power.” It will take place Wednesday, October 21 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. EDT. Register here. Panelists include:

  • 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
  • Ben Edgar, CEO, White Harvest Energy

The second webinar in our series is “Energy Storage and Demand Response.” It will take place Wednesday, October 28 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. EDT. Register here. Panelists include:

  • Bradley Greene, Energy Storage Manager, Signal Energy
  • Clint Wilson, VP, Engineering & Energy Innovations, Seven States
  • Simon Sandler, Project Engineer, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University

The third webinar in our series is “Traditional and Innovative Financing Models for Distributed Generation.” It will take place Wednesday, November 4 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. EDT. Register here. Panelists include:

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

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

Visit the TAEBC calendar to learn more about upcoming Advanced Energy 101 for LPCs events.

Knoxville welcomes Innovation Crossroads’ innovators to East Tennessee

The Knoxville Chamber was a packed house Tuesday when the Innovation Crossroads’ innovators pitched their startup before Knoxville’s entrepreneurial community during an Innov865 Happy Hour.

Dozens came out to see the cleantech companies present their next-generation ideas solving global energy challenges.

Innovation Crossroads is a program based at ORNL that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with the experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from R&D to the marketplace.

Several entrepreneurs were selected to transform their ideas into clean energy companies with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Innovators receive a fellowship that covers living costs, benefits and a travel stipend for up to two years, plus up to $350,000 to use on collaborative research and development at ORNL.

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and Launch Tennessee provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads innovators.

The crowd heard from Mitchell Ishmael of Active Energy Systems first. Ishmael is utilizing a saltwater material to store electricity as thermal energy. The method provides a much cheaper alternative to providing onsite backup power for customers than standby generators or batteries. It is expected to encourage the installation of more distributed, renewable power generation.

Ishmael explained how energy storage is still high cost and low efficiency and the resources available to him in East Tennessee could help change that.

“Innovation Crossroads is providing us all a leg up already,” said Ishmael.

Anna Douglas of SkyNano Technologies presented her pitch next. Douglas’ technology utilizes carbon dioxide as feedstock to significantly lower the production cost of carbon nanotubes. The process provides a use for captured greenhouse gases while benefiting clean energy technologies and advanced manufacturing.

“SkyNano Technologies has made immense progress with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and my company has benefited from the lab’s community connections,” said Douglas.

Finally, the crowd heard from Matthew Ellis and Samuel Shaner of Yellowstone Energy. The two are developing an advanced nuclear reactor with the potential for faster installation while optimizing safety in order to provide a clean source of baseload electricity. The design uses an already licensed uranium fuel with an ambient pressure, high temperature coolant.

“Yellowstone Energy’s solution delivers lower cost, advanced nuclear sooner,” said Ellis.

Tom Rogers, Director of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development at ORNL, stressed to the audience afterwards that applications are still open for Startup Day 2017 pitch competition.

Interested East Tennessee startups have until July 10, 2017 to apply to pitch their business on the U.S. Cellular Stage at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville. New this year, the Startup Day pitch competition will feature two prize categories: judges’ choice and crowd favorite. Competitors will have an opportunity to win up to $15,000.

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

The potential for Tennessee to expand its advanced energy technologies is shaped by its 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 some recent posts, we have elaborated on Tennessee’s high per-capita energy consumption and a gap in personal income. The final part to this series is discussing the potential of three major players – and explaining who they are.

Initiatives from three distinct components of Tennessee’s economy – the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the automotive sector, including the massive assembly plants of General Motors, Nissan and Volkswagen – will have a disproportionate influence on the direction and success of the state’s efforts to promote an advanced energy economy. The ability to understand the assets that these three major economic players bring to the discussion, as well as their willingness to combine these assets in support of advanced energy technologies, will to a large extent shape the opportunities for sustained expansion of the advanced energy economy in Tennessee.

While the automotive sector represents what may be the single largest opportunity to expand the use of advanced energy technologies, significant opportunities also exist within other key clusters in which Tennessee, because of geography and a mature industrial base, has a competitive advantage. Examples include logistics, transportation and distribution services, chemical products and plastics, and advanced manufacturing.

Since its creation in the 1930s, TVA has played a major role in the growth of Tennessee’s manufacturing base and, more recently, in efforts to reduce the volume of sulphur and carbon emissions in the state’s air. TVA’s mission includes use of the agency’s resources to improve environmental quality and foster economic development. The scope of TVA’s energy portfolio makes it possible to pilot, incentivize and evaluate a variety of innovative clean technologies.

Increasingly, Tennessee’s inventory of advanced energy technologies is the beneficiary of breakthrough discoveries and initiatives at ORNL, the nation’s largest energy research institution, and the University of Tennessee. The Laboratory is at the forefront of innovation for biofuels, energy storage, solar technology and nuclear power. A close relationship with the University of Tennessee has resulted in the Laboratory becoming a vital part of the state of Tennessee’s economic strategy with successive governors.

In many respects, the initiatives of both TVA and ORNL are responsive to efforts by Tennessee’s automotive manufacturers to promote advanced energy technologies, both in their products and in the operation of their manufacturing facilities. In Smyrna, Nissan has made a historic investment in the design and manufacture of batteries and electric cars in Tennessee. In Chattanooga, Volkswagen operates Tennessee’s largest solar park, where 13 million kilowatt hours are produced annually to power 12 percent of the enormous manufacturing facility.[i] Each of Tennessee’s automotive manufacturers is looking over the horizon to innovative technologies and materials such as carbon fiber that will reduce weight and increase fuel efficiency.

The last decade has witnessed a growing willingness among the three major entities in Tennessee’s energy economy to partner in the deployment of innovative technologies. TAEBC views the ability to replicate this kind of cooperation as a key factor in expanding Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.

[i] 2012, August 29. Work begins on $30 million solar park at Volkswagen. Chattanooga Times-Free Press. Retrieved from http://www.timesfreepress.com.