Tennessee Fortune 100 and 500 companies setting renewable energy, sustainability targets

Earlier this month a new report, 2016 Corporate Advanced Energy Commitments, explained renewable energy demand is “significant and growing quickly” within Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies.

fortune-500-logoIts findings reveal that 71 of Fortune 100 companies and 215 of Fortune 500 companies have set renewable energy or sustainability targets.

TAEBC decided to take a closer look at which companies in Tennessee not only made the list but also have set energy goals within their corporations.

It’s important to mention 22 companies in the Fortune 500 list have committed to 100% renewable energy including General Motors and Nike.

General Motors has a plant located in Spring Hill, Tennessee and recently announced plans to add 650 jobs there. Meanwhile, Nike’s largest distribution center is located in Memphis, Tennessee.

fedexlogoComing in at the highest ranked Tennessee headquartered company on the list is FedEx Corp. FedEx’s corporate office is located in Memphis. It’s been on the list for more than 20 years and employs more than 323,000 people nationwide.

As for energy commitments, FedEx Corp. has set ambitious goals to reduce its footprint by:

  • Increasing FedEx Express vehicle efficiency by 30 percent by 2020 (It surpassed its original 20 percent by 2020 goal years ahead of schedule.)
  • Getting 30 percent of its jet fuel from alternative fuels by 2030
  • Expanding on-site renewable energy generation and procurement of renewable energy credits

The company has made impressive gains in meeting and exceeding these goals.

  • In FY12, FedEx achieved a 22% fuel efficiency improvement in the FedEx Express vehicle fleet since FY05. It also happily announced that FedEx Express increased its previously stated vehicle fuel efficiency goal by 50% to a 30% improvement by 2020, still using FY05 as the baseline year.
  • By the end of FY12, FedEx Express had increased its global electric vehicle and hybrid-electric vehicle fleet to 482 vehicles, an increase of nearly 18%. As of December 2012, these vehicles had logged 14.8 million miles and saved 480,000 gallons of fuel since being introduced to its fleet in 2005.

hcaholdings-inc-logoThe other Tennessee company making it to the Fortune 100 list is HCA Holdings, Inc. HCA Holdings’s corporate office is in Nashville. It’s the nation’s largest hospital chain and its revenues rose 8.7% over the past year. The magazine credits this to the passing of the Affordable Care Act, increasing its number of insured patients seeking healthcare.

HCA Holdings, Inc. has been on Fortune’s list for at least 22 years. The company employs more than 200,000 workers.

HCA has created a 2016 Sustainability Plan that mentions the collective impact all hospitals made in 2015 along with plans for the future in new construction projects including:

  • Pursuit of LEED Status – Several of HCA’s hospitals have received LEED Certified status or are in the final stages of such including it’s Nashville Data Center.
  • Alternative Energy Sources – Solar, wind, and combined heat and power energy systems can be incorporated into new construction. HCA’s Sustainability Plan says “an evaluation of the feasibility of these systems will occur for all future projects.

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 One

As in every state, the potential for the expansion of advanced energy technologies will be shaped by economic factors and assets that are unique to Tennessee. 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?)

We’ll elaborate on Tennessee’s high per-capita energy consumption for this blog post and explore the other features in subsequent posts. 

The most distinctive feature of the state’s energy economy – and perhaps the greatest opportunity for an investment in advanced energy technologies – is the fact that Tennessee ranks as the 20th largest user of energy, per capita, in the U.S. The average residential consumer uses far more energy than consumers in almost all other states. In 2011, the average Tennessean used 87.8 million Btu’s of electricity, ranking Tennessee the 4th highest consumer of energy in the residential sector.[i]

In terms of industrial and commercial energy consumption per capita, Tennessee ranks as the 25th highest user. However, roughly 47 percent of energy consumed in Tennessee is for industrial and commercial purposes, while only 24 percent of Tennessee’s total consumption is for the residential sector. Approximately 29 percent of Tennessee energy consumption falls in the transportation sector.[ii]

TVA’s decision in 2007 to promote energy efficiency initiatives offers hope that historic patterns of energy consumption in Tennessee might gradually be reversed through the adoption of a combination of new energy technologies, government policies and TVA incentives designed to reduce residential demand for electric power. By 2010, energy efficiency programs had resulted in a savings of 143,000 megawatts of power, or about .14 percent of the state’s power consumption.[iii]

The introduction of new advanced energy technologies, particularly in the automotive industry, holds the promise of substantial reductions of energy use, both in the manufacturing of vehicles and in the amount of transportation energy used by the vehicles. The incorporation of similar technologies could have equally significant energy reductions for large commercial companies such as Federal Express.

Linked to TVA’s effort to reduce energy consumption is the agency’s parallel desire to lower the volume of emissions from coal-fired plants that provide more than one-half of the state’s electricity. The implementation of new energy technologies, some of which may be developed in Tennessee research institutions, can assist TVA in reaching that goal. In some instances, the ability to move these advanced energy technologies into the market will depend upon providing entrepreneurs with available capital and the support services required to stand up a new company.

The effort to reduce emissions from coal-fired plants is supplemented by initiatives to reduce the use of fossil fuels in Tennessee’s transportation industry. Joining with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the state of Tennessee has allocated substantial funds to promote research and deployment of biofuels. Working with the same two partners, in 2011 Nissan chose Tennessee as one of the first five states to introduce the company’s electric car. Memphis Bioworks Foundation has been a major catalyst for business-led approaches to commercial advanced biofuels, biomass and feedstocks across Tennessee and the Mid-South.

Tennessee’s largest employer, Federal Express, is partnering with the Department of Energy to test the ability of hydrogen fuel cells to reduce carbon emissions while simultaneously lowering costs in Fed Ex’s enormous fleet of delivery trucks by as much as 40 percent. Managed through a partnership that includes Smith Electric Vehicles and Plug Power, the $3 million project will equip 20 delivery trucks with lithium-ion batteries combined with a 10-kilowatt Plug Power hydrogen fuel cell system.[iv]

[i]Energy consumption per capita by end-use sector, 2011, U.S. Energy Information Administration., Retrieved from http://www.eia.gov/state/seds/data.cfm?incfile=/state/seds/sep_sum/html/rank_use_capita.html&sid=US.

[ii] Tennessee: State Profile and Energy Estimates, 2014, U.S. Energy Information Administration., Retrieved from http://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=TN#tabs-2

[iii] Clean Energy in My State: Tennessee Residential Energy Consumption, 2010. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Retrieved from http://www.eere.energy.gov/states.

[iv] Energy Department Invests Over $7 Million to Commercialize Cost-Effective Hydrogen and Fuel Cell. Energy.Gov. U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved from Technologies http://energy.gov/articles/energy-department-invests-over-7-million-commercialize-cost-effective-hydrogen-and-fuel.

America’s largest companies save $1.1 billion annually through advanced energy initiatives

Now we’re talking. A new report released last week found that 53 Fortune 100 companies reporting on climate and energy targets are collectively saving $1.1 billion annually through their emission reduction and renewable energy initiatives – which certainly qualify as advanced energy.

Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies are increasing the demand for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy. The states that provide not only the energy source, but also the technologies and the workforce will win. Why not Tennessee?

215 companies in the Fortune 500 have set targets in one of three categories and will be looking for ways to meet them: 1) greenhouse gas reduction commitments, 2) improving energy efficiency and 3) procuring more renewable energy. Many of these companies have Tennessee ties (including FedEx and General Motors) or would be welcome additions to our state.

The latest report adds to our evidence that Tennessee’s advanced energy sector is poised for a period of sustained growth. The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) was created to help facilitate this growth by championing the use and manufacture of advanced energy technologies as an economic development strategy.

The Advanced Energy Now 2014 Market Report, published by Advanced Energy Economy, indicated strong growth globally and nationwide in the advanced energy market. Globally, advanced energy represents a $1.1 trillion-dollar market. With estimated revenues in 2013 of $169 billion, the U.S. now represents 15 percent of the world market, up from 11 percent in 2011.

TAEBC sees in these national trends an enormous opportunity for Tennessee. The opportunity includes, through the adoption of affordable technologies, a chance to grow Tennessee’s economy.

The University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the state’s expanding automobile sector (as well as other key clusters) provide Tennessee with unique assets that together offer an unparalleled platform for collaboration, innovation, testing and implementation of advanced energy technologies.

Our goal is to help business and government view Tennessee’s advanced energy assets and challenges as an emerging sector that will play an increasing role in the state’s economic development.