Remembering TAEBC’s 2019 accomplishments, what to expect in the new year

As the new year looms upon us and we welcome a new decade, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) is celebrating its 2019 achievements.

By championing advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy, TAEBC is positioning the state and its members to increase our leadership role in the $1.4 trillion global advanced energy market.

TAEBC wants to reinforce our commitment to our members and stakeholders:

  • Inform the national energy agenda.
  • Help Tennessee become the #1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs.
  • Foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups.
  • Support TVA and our local power companies’ efforts to become the energy companies of the future.

We look forward to our annual membership meeting in Franklin, but until then let’s reflect on our top accomplishments from 2019.

  1. SkyNano and Active Energy Systems became the third and fourth graduates from the Energy Mentor Network. The companies were part of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Innovation Crossroads cohort one, where they are now recognized as honored alumni.
  2. TAEBC held its Annual Membership Meeting in Franklin, Tennessee at Schneider Electrics headquarters. TAEBC members, stakeholders and supporters heard from Schneider Electric’s Vice President of Utility & Microgrid Solutions Don Wingate, who touched on the new energy landscape emerging with more microgrid implementation happening across the United States. Attendees also heard from Chris Hansen, TVA’s Director of Pricing Strategy & Origination, who spotlighted the energy company’s efforts to meet renewable energy expectations of Google and Facebook for new data centers the companies were constructing in the Valley. Both global giants are known for their commitments to sustainability and clean energy.
  3. During the annual meeting, renowned Tennessee collaborator and partnerships builder Tom Ballard received the Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award named in his honor. The Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award honors exemplary leadership and success in championing, connecting, and strengthening Tennessee’s advanced energy economy. TAEBC announced the Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award will be an annual award, accepting nominations every year and presenting the winner with the honor at future annual meetings.
  4. TAEBC had a full calendar year filled with events that engaged both members and stakeholders alike including:
    1. TAEBC Executive Director & Vice President Cortney Piper, Michael Garrabrant with Stone Mountain Technologies and Launch Tennessee executives were at Tennessee’s Capitol Hill earlier this year for Innovation Week on the Hill, connecting entrepreneurs and innovators with legislators to discuss key challenges facing small businesses.
    2. The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council hosted a new “Ask Me Anything” event that gave attendees the opportunity to “ask anything” from some of the most well-known energy CEOs in the state, including Matt Kisber of Silicon Ranch Corporation. The “Ask Me Anything” session provided intimate, candid discussions between attendees and energy CEOS where attendees could “ask anything” related to business, strategy, work-life balance and everything in between.
    3. TAEBC held a Lunch & Learn with TVA board member Jeff Smith and new TVA CEO Jeff Lyash to discuss what they envisioned in the future for the energy company and giving members the opportunity to have an open dialogue with TVA leadership.
    4. The Energy Mentor Network’s mentors had an opportunity to meet the Innovation Crossroads recently inducted third cohort, where they heard pitches from the energy startups. The event also featured a panel discussion with the Innovation Crossroads’ cohort one alumni as they gave updates on their businesses and what their experience was like in Innovation Crossroads.
    5. Launch Tennessee, in partnership with Life Science Tennessee and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council, invited our Energy Mentor Network mentors and companies to an evening of networking in appreciation for the mentors’ generous service to the Mentor Networks.
  5. TAEBC’s Utility Relations Committee met with TVPPA, TVIC, & AVI to present Tennessee’s advanced energy asset inventory.
  6. TAEBC Executive Director & Vice President Cortney Piper met with U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s office staff in Washington, DC to present a briefing on Tennessee’s robust advanced energy economy which employs more than 358,000 Tennesseans, contributes $39.7B to the state’s GDP, and includes more than 18,000 businesses.
  7. TAEBC Executive Director & Vice President Cortney Piper also met with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development deputy commissioners and senior staff, new Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s staff, various TVA leaders, and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation staff to educate them on Tennessee’s advanced energy economy and present an asset inventory briefing.
  8. Opportunities in Energy 2019, presented by Verizon, featured a presentation from Majid Khan, Managing Director of Strategy & Business Development from Verizon to talk about 5G and the future of energy in our region and the nation as a whole. A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Greg Peterson, Professor & Department Head at the University of Tennessee in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, with Khan, Greg Thompson, Senior Manager of Smart Grid Services and Digital Engagements at Schneider Electric, as well as with Gary Brinkworth, Director of Enterprise Research and Technology Innovation at TVA focused primarily on the opportunities and challenges of how 5G can impact the energy landscape here in Tennessee.
  9. Welcome New Members: AVI, East Tennessee Economic Council, Giridhar Iyer, Johnson Energy Solutions, Piper Communications, Smart Trips, Stone Mountain Technologies, Verizon and XMI.
  10. TAEBC submitted comments to TVA in April regarding, at the time, its draft 2019 IRP. TVA’s Board of Directors approved the 2019 Final Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) later in the year. TVA updated its previous IRP to allow for a more dependable and flexible power-generation system that effectively leverages more renewable energy sources and distributed energy resources. According to the 2019 IRP’s Executive Summary, TVA found:
    • There is a need for new capacity in all scenarios to replace expiring or retiring capacity.
    • Solar expansion plays a substantial role in all futures.
    • Gas, storage and demand response additions provide reliability and/or flexibility.
    • No baseload resources (designed to operate around the clock) are added, highlighting the need for operational flexibility in the resource portfolio.
    • Additional coal retirements occur in certain futures.
    • Energy efficiency (EE) levels depend on market depth and cost-competitiveness.
    • Wind could play a role if it becomes cost-competitive.
    • In all cases, TVA will continue to provide for economic growth in the Tennessee Valley

As an added bonus two TAEBC board members, Steve Seifried and Mary Beth Hudson, wrote op-eds on Tennessee’s thriving advanced energy economy.

Happy Holidays from the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council!

Innovation Crossroads applications for Cohort Four are due on Halloween!

Interested in applying for the Innovation Crossroads program or know an aspiring energy entrepreneur who should? The application deadline for Cohort Four is tomorrow, October 31 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. 

Innovation Crossroads is an Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) program that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with experts and mentors in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from R&D to the marketplace. Participants receive a two-year fellowship and lab access and funding to support their innovations. They also have access to entrepreneurial training and exclusive networking opportunities. 

To be eligible to apply, applicants must have a PhD or equivalent experience; be focused on energy or manufacturing innovation; leverage ORNL R&D capabilities and have an impact on the Department of Energy or TVA mission; be willing to relocate to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge area; and be a lawful U.S. citizen or permanent resident. 

Here are some key dates and information to keep in mind about the application timeline:

  • Applications close: October 31, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. EDT
  • Initial application review: November 2019 – Applications are reviewed by the Innovation Crossroads team, as well as scientific and industry subject matter experts
  • Phone interviews: December 2019 – Based on initial review, selected applicants will be invited to conduct a brief phone screen with the Innovation Crossroads team.
  • In-person interviews: January/February 2020 – Interviewees will be invited to visit ORNL to tour facilities, connect with potential collaborators, principal investigators and mentors, and present for our team of reviewers.
  • Cohort Four selected: March 2020
  • Cohort Four starts at Innovation Crossroads: May 2020

Ready to apply? Click here for the application. Contact innvcrossrds@ornl.gov if you have any questions.

Innovation Crossroads Cohort Four Informational Webinar

Innovation Crossroads is an Oak Ridge National Laboratory program that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with experts and mentors in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from R&D to the marketplace. The program is now welcoming applications for Cohort Four and encouraging interested individuals to sign up for informational webinars.

Seven entrepreneurs will be chosen for this cohort, where sponsors include DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Specific topics of interest identified by DOE’s AMO and TVA include technologies in Energy and Advanced Manufacturing and Shared Integrated Grid, respectively.

Applicants whose technology doesn’t fall under the aforementioned categories are still encouraged to apply. To learn more about the program’s benefits, application process and more, sign up for an informational webinar at one of the following times:

  • Thursday, October 24th at 2:30 p.m. ET

Selected participants will receive a two-year fellowship, lab access and research funding, and business mentors, entrepreneurial training, and networking opportunities.

Ready to apply? Here is the application. Contact innvcrossrds@ornl.gov if you have any questions.