TAEBC reflects on 2020 accomplishments

As 2020 draws to a close, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) is taking a look back at its accomplishments over the last 12 months.

This year, Tennessee’s advanced energy economy was booming. We stood alongside our members and stakeholders as they celebrated business milestones, received countless awards for sustainability and business accolades, funding for advanced energy innovations, and expanded and broke ground on new facilities.

At the same time, we recognize that 2020 has been a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even in these uncertain times, TAEBC has continued to champion advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy for Tennessee. We believe that Tennessee has an opportunity during this economic downturn to add jobs and become a leader in the advanced energy economy. That is why we are committed to keeping our members and stakeholders informed by sharing the latest news concerning Tennessee’s expanding advanced energy ecosystem.

TAEBC’s commitments to you, our members and stakeholders, remain as strong as ever. These commitments are:

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

Here’s some of the ways TAEBC championed advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy in 2020. 

Inform the National Energy Agenda

Advanced energy is a $1.4 trillion global market. Tennessee and TAEBC have a lot of expertise to share, especially in the area of transportation electrification. The state is uniquely positioned to capitalize on transportation electrification thanks to the hard work of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander and previous governors like Phil Bredesen and Bill Haslam, who diligently put our current advanced energy infrastructure and assets in place.

  • In July, TAEBC joined 50 cleantech organizations in signing on to the Transportation Electrification Partnership’s (TEP) $150 billion federal stimulus proposal. TEP’s proposal would create 2.3 million high-quality, advanced energy jobs across the United States and provide much-needed investments in zero-emissions vehicle manufacturing and innovation.
  • In August, TAEBC joined with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator to host a webinar on the federal stimulus proposal and how it could support transportation electrification as a job creation and economic development opportunity in Tennessee.
    • TAEBC also authored an op-ed about the proposal and how its investments in advanced energy can help recharge Tennessee’s economy and secure its place as a leader in transportation electrification.
  • TAEBC held its 2020 Annual Meeting at Schneider Electric’s Nashville Hub in early March. TAEBC members, stakeholders, and supporters heard from Commissioner Bob Rolfe of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) and Commissioner David Salyers of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, who spoke about electric vehicles (EV) and their role in Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.
    • Attendees also heard from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Senior Power Utilization Engineer, Drew Frye, who spoke about EV trends and the utility’s EV strategy for the state, and Silicon Ranch’s Director of Regenerative Energy and Land Management, Michael Baute, who spoke about the company’s holistic approach to solar power plant design, construction, and operations.
  • In early December, TAEBC held its annual Opportunities in Energy event. This year’s event included a panel session called, “Tennessee’s EVolution: Making the state a destination for the electric vehicle supply chain.” Panelists discussed the importance of transportation electrification efforts, areas of opportunity, and steps Tennessee can take to accelerate its goal to become the top state for EV manufacturing. The event also featured a preview of the 2021 Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report.

Support TVA and Our Local Power Company’s Efforts to Become Energy Companies of the Future

In February, TVA’s board voted to allow local power companies (LPCs) to self-generate or procure a percentage of their power demand through its Flexibility Proposal. Prior to this modification to the Flexibility Proposal (also called the Flexibility Option), LPCs were restricted from generating or procuring energy from local distributed sources.

  • The Flexibility Option represents a potential increase of more than one gigawatt of distributed advanced energy in the Tennessee Valley. TAEBC submitted comments to TVA’s draft Environmental Assessment. After the flexibility announcement was made, TAEBC praised TVA, stating that this move has the potential to create great economic impact in the region. TAEBC is here to offer our expertise so we can seize these opportunities to recruit and retain businesses in the state.
  • This fall, TAEBC partnered with Seven States Power to host a three-part Advanced Energy 101 webinar series for LPCs. The webinar series emphasized the benefits of advanced energy solutions, provided baseline information on various distributed energy technologies, and offered guidance to help LPCs take advantage of the Flexibility Option and any economic development opportunities that might follow.
  • In November, TAEBC also hosted a virtual Lunch and Learn with Jeannette Mills, TVA’s Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer. Mills talked about several LPC flexibility projects that arose from the Flexibility Option. She also discussed TVA’s approach to accelerate EV adoption through partnerships and the ways in which advanced energy serves as an economic development driver in Tennessee.

Help Tennessee Become the #1 Location in the Southeast for High-Quality Jobs

TAEBC champions advanced energy as a job creation and economic development strategy. According to the 2018 Advanced Energy Economy Impact Report, employment in the advanced energy sector grew by 10.3%, a rate higher than the state’s overall growth rate of 8.3%, since 2013.

  • In 2021, we will be releasing our third Advanced Energy Economy Impact Report. This new report will present a great opportunity to educate and exchange information about Tennessee’s advanced energy sector. We intend to use data from the report to inform actions we can take as a state to maximize economic opportunity from this sector for our economy, specifically in support of Tennessee’s goal to become the number one state in the country for EV manufacturing. We are grateful for TVA and the University of Tennessee’s financial support in this report.

Foster the Growth of Tennessee Advanced Energy Technologies and Startups

The Energy Mentor Network, a partnership between TAEBC and Launch Tennessee, is stronger than ever. The Energy Mentor Network’s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry-specific expertise.

  • In 2020, 35 mentors helped us serve over 20 companies, while a record high number of five companies graduated from the program. Energy Mentor Network companies raised a combined total of $8 million in grants and funding. Here are a couple of highlights from our companies this year:
    • Justin Nussbaum, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ascend Manufacturing, launched A Mask for All with two partners to address the global shortage of N95 masks, procedure masks, and personal protective equipment, which are desperately needed by caregivers and healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVID-19.
    • Quantum Lock, co-founded by Erica Grant, won the $3,000 Innov865 Crowd Favorite prize as voted on by viewers of the annual pitch competition during Startup Day 2020, hosted by the Innov865 Alliance.
  • This year’s Innovation Crossroads Showcase took place virtually during Innov865 Week 2020 in September. The event, presented by TAEBC and Launch Tennessee, focused on the value of entrepreneurship in the East Tennessee region and featured pitches from the five Innovation Crossroads Cohort Four startups. Innovation Crossroads Cohort Two alumni participated in a panel discussion where they provided updates on their businesses and reflected on their experience in the Innovation Crossroads program.
  • TAEBC Executive Director Cortney Piper was a featured participant in a panel session on innovative partnerships at this year’s 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival, presented by LaunchTN. Piper discussed TAEBC’s mission and how the Energy Mentor Network supports this mission by fostering the growth of advanced energy companies and technologies in Tennessee. In a separate panel session, seven members of Innovation Crossroads Cohort Three discussed what is on the horizon for cleantech and energy and how the Tennessee entrepreneurial ecosystem helped their companies over the past year.

Additional 2020 Highlights

In addition to our mission highlights from 2020, TAEBC wants to share several other developments and accomplishments that occurred over the past 12 months.

  • TAEBC awarded Dan Hurst, CEO and Founder of Knoxville-based Strata-G, with the annual Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award during TAEBC’s Annual Meeting in March. The award honors exemplary leadership and success in championing, connecting, and strengthening Tennessee’s advanced energy economy. Since founding Strata-G in 2002, Hurst and his 240 employees have contributed to Tennessee’s advanced energy economy through a diversity of advanced energy projects that are committed to improving the state’s communities.
  • TAEBC Executive Director Cortney Piper shared her vision for making Tennessee a global leader in advanced energy innovation and job creation on an October episode of LaunchTN’s Disrupt the Continuum podcast. Piper’s podcast episode, Turning Energy Innovation into Economic Growth, is part of LaunchTN’s #BuildTN series, which explores Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • In October, TAEBC celebrated a significant victory for Tennessee’s advanced energy industry with the announcement that GM will build an electric vehicle, the Cadillac Lyriq, at its Middle Tennessee Spring Hill plant. GM’s announcement comes with a planned $2 billion investment for the state and, along with Nissan’s and Volkswagen’s electric vehicle plans, signals opportunities for employment in the advanced energy economy for the people of Tennessee.
  • In November, TAEBC congratulated the University of Tennessee (UT) for receiving the prestigious designation as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The university has partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) over the years to expand a number of energy-related research programs and partnerships that contribute to Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.
  • Volkswagen, UT, and ORNL are partnering to create an innovation hub at the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm. This will be Volkswagen’s first innovation hub in North America and will offer research opportunities for doctoral students focused on EVs and the use of composite materials to create lighter vehicle components, among others.
  • In December, Piper was featured in a Startup Knox podcast episode where she discussed the creation of TAEBC and all things Knoxville.

Here’s wishing you a Happy Holidays from TAEBC!

Opportunities in Energy 2018

You’re invited to join the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council at its annual, year-end “Opportunities in Energy” event.

RSVP here!

1:30 PM

Welcoming Remarks

  • Matt Kisber, President of TAEBC & President, CEO of Silicon Ranch Corporation

Featured Panel: A look inside TVA’s partnership with Innovation Crossroads, Cohort 3 For the first time, TVA is providing funding to support the next cohort of energy entrepreneurs for ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads. How will this partnership shape Cohort 3?

  • Amy Henry, Sr. Manager, Enterprise Relations and Strategic Partnership, TVA
  • Tom Rogers, Director of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Sam Shaner, Yellowstone Energy
  • Mitchell Ishmael, Active Energy Systems
  • Moderated by: Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA & Editor, Teknovation.biz

EMN Spotlight: Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc. Hear this EMN company’s power pitch on next generation heating technologies, and learn more about their experience in the Energy Mentor Network.

  • Michael Garrabrant, CEO, Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc
  • Gary Rawlings, Technology Consultant, Oak Ridge National Lab
  • Steve Seifried, Account Executive for the Tennessee Region, Ameresco
  • Ira Weiss, Principal, Weiss Associates & Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Energy Mentor Network

Protecting our Power
As cybersecurity becomes a growing priority across the country, how is TVA protecting the grid?

  • Andrea Brackett, Director of Cybersecurity, Tennessee Valley Authority

TennSMART: Shaping the Future of Intelligent Mobility
Hear about TennSmart’s progress in accelerating the development and deployment of new intelligent mobility innovations in Tennessee.

  • Brad Rutherford, Vice President of Sales, Local Motors
  • Bob Booker, Senior Manager, Corporate Services Divison, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc.
  • Ron Espinosa, Regional Director Mid-Atlantic, SoftServe Inc
  • Moderated by: Jesse Smith, Manager of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development, Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

TN Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report, 2018 Findings
The numbers are in and Tennessee’s advanced energy sector is continuing to thrive! This panel will discuss TAEBC’s latest economic impact report and what this means for the state.

  • Stacey Patterson, Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development at the University of Tennessee
  • Denise Ganus, Future Offer Manager, Schneider Electric
  • Mary Beth Hudson, Vice President Wacker Polysilicon Division NCA, Site Manager Charleston at Wacker Polysilicon
  • Moderated by: Matt Murray, Director, Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

Energy Mentor Network Showcase
Meet some of our Energy Mentor Network companies as they present their entrepreneurial solutions for our nation’s energy challenges!

  • Shane McMahon, Lux Semiconductors
  • Justin Nussbaum, Ascend Manufacturing
  • Megan O’Connor, Nth Cycle
  • Moderated by: Anna Douglas, SkyNano

4:00 PM

Closing Remarks

5:00 PM

Happy Hour–Cheers!

Looking back on TAEBC’s 2016 accomplishments & what’s to come

As we welcome 2017 and anticipate what it will bring, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) is marking its 2016 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 $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

As we enter into a New Year that will likely bring new opportunities and challenges, 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’s efforts to become the utility of the future.

As we look forward to our annual membership meeting in Nashville, TAEBC shares our top 10 accomplishments from 2016.

TAEBC Top 10 Year in Review

  1. The Energy Mentor Network pairs mentors with promising new companies and entrepreneurs through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions. The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups. The network is run by TAEBC in partnership with Launch Tennessee. Currently, there are more than a dozen mentors signed up for the program with expertise in energy systems, clean tech, intellectual property, business and finance strategy.
  2. mccarthyWelcome new members: McCarthy Building Companies, First Solar, John McMillian, Sandi Swilley, Bridgestone Americas, Centrus Energy, Milepost Consulting, Tori Watson, The Angel Roundtable, and Wacker Polysilicon North America.
  3. U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan talked advanced energy in Tennessee during TAEBC’s annual Opportunities in Energy event. Special guests included Hogan and Bryan Dods, CEO for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). They had an in-depth discussion over the future of advanced energy. During this event there was also the unveiling of a three-part video series showing those who are making a difference in Tennessee’s advanced energy industry and what’s to come in the future.
  4. “This is Advanced Energy” video is the first of the three taking a closer look at what is advanced energy and what it means to Tennessee’s economy as a whole.
  5. insideae“Inside Advanced Energy” video is the second of the three videos giving you an opportunity to meet the people and companies that employ nearly 325,000 people and contribute $33.4 billion to Tennessee’s GDP.
  6. “Innovations in Advanced Energy” is the final of the three videos demonstrating how innovation gives Tennessee an edge in the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy marketplace.
  7. TAEBC is a growing industry leader and is an influential voice throughout the southeastern region, state and nation. In 2016, TAEBC was selected to speak at TVC’s Leadership Summit and Energy Huntsville’s member meetings. In addition TAEBC also moderated a “Clean Energy Innovations” panel at the Southeast Regional Energy Innovation Workshop in May in Chattanooga. The panel focused on clean energy issues in the region, grid research, and the economic impacts from clean energy innovations. As if this wasn’t enough, TAEBC’s board also had a conference call with Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R- Tennessee) at the end of 2016 to discuss new energy leadership within the new transitioning administration.
  8.  TAEBC participates as a formal member in TVA’s newly formed stakeholder group: the “Distributed Generation- Information Exchange” or DG-IX for short.  TVA’s DG-IX was created to provide a forum for a diverse set of stakeholders to discuss the broad issues around the implementation of the distributed energy side of TVA’s 2015 Integrated Resource Plan. The group’s purpose is to build greater understanding of issues, technologies, and challenges/opportunities in distributed energy resources; facilitate dialogue among diverse interests; hear ideas, and present options and considerations to each other and TVA as they work to implement the 2015 IRP.
  9. New board members joined TAEBC in 2016. Jim DeMouy serves as the Vice President of Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHSS) for Bridgestone Americas. He provides environmental, health and safety strategic and operational leadership for the global enterprise, including stewardship for sustainability initiatives. Also Jeff Kanel with Renewable Algal Energy serves on TAEBC’s board. He has more than 21 years of experience engineering research and process development through work at The Dow Chemical Company, Eastman Chemical Company and Union Carbide Corporation.
  10. TAEBC kicked off its new event series, Energy Connect, in Nashville at TAEBC member Bradley’s headquarters in early May. TAEBC’s Energy Connect gives members the chance to network more often during the year, increase the visibility of their business, and share expertise and information. In May more than 20 TAEBC members attended to hear a presentation on economic development from TVA’s John Bradley.

Remember to save the date for the next TAEBC event, Wednesday, February 15 in Nashville and help plan for a successful 2017.

Three-part video series unveiled at “Opportunities in Energy” event

Amid the featured fireside chat, the panel discussions and the networking at TAEBC’s year-end “Opportunities in Energy” event, there were three videos unveiled demonstrating Tennessee’s leadership in the advanced energy sector.

These three videos were played between the panels to provide an empowering reminder of what’s to come as far as advanced energy in the Volunteer State.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-1-27-06-pmThe first video entitled “This is Advanced Energy” specifically discussed what is advanced energy to begin with and what it means to Tennessee’s economy.

This video explains to viewers advanced energy is technology neutral and applies to anything that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure or more efficient. Advanced energy includes electricity, transportation, manufacturers that make advanced energy widgets, and deploying advanced energy processes and technologies at plants. Above all else however, advanced energy means jobs as it relates to Governor Bill Haslam’s priorities to be the #1 state in the Southeast for job growth.

Tennessee is a leader in the $1.3 trillion dollar advanced energy market.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-1-47-12-pmThe second video “Inside Advanced Energy” allowed viewers to meet the people and companies that employ nearly 325,000 people and contribute $33.4 billion to Tennessee’s GDP.

The businesses mentioned in the video explain how they strive to increase energy efficiency, make switches to use cleaner energy sources like natural gas, design solar solutions to companies and utilities so they can benefit from renewable power, and provide talented, educated people to support engineering and science projects that relate to the future of energy in Tennessee.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-1-51-39-pmThe third and final video recognizes the “Innovations in Advanced Energy.” Innovations in Oak Ridge National Laboratory are transforming the energy industry entirely.

The video stresses the importance of public and private partnerships and how they are accelerating the pace of innovation moving from the lab to the marketplace. Ultimately the viewer sees how Tennessee’s economy has benefited tremendously from those successful partnerships.

TAEBC’s “Opportunities in Energy” event talks advanced energy achievements in Tennessee

The Square Room inside Cafe 4 in Downtown Knoxville was packed on Tuesday afternoon as 80 people awaited to hear about the accomplishments in Tennessee’s advanced energy sector and what’s to come in the future.

U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Kathleen Hogan and new CEO of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), Bryan Dods, gathered in Knoxville to discuss how advanced energy is not only making an impact in the Volunteer State but also nationwide.

(L to R) WBIR-TV anchor John Becker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy Kathleen Hogan, and Bryan Dods CEO of IACMI

(L to R) WBIR-TV anchor John Becker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at the U.S. Department of Energy Kathleen Hogan, and Bryan Dods CEO of IACMI

Their featured fireside chat took place at the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC)’s annual “Opportunities in Energy” event in Knoxville. Business leaders and public officials gathered to learn more about how to leverage advanced energy to make Tennessee the #1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.

The fireside chat was moderated by WBIR-TV anchor John Becker. The questions ranged from innovations in advanced manufacturing to what was going to happen to Hogan’s position at the U.S. Department of Energy with a new Administration soon to be stepping in.

“Even though I have this title that makes it sound like I could be political, I’m really not. So with the way the federal government works, there’s a group of people called Senior Executive Service, and that is what I am. We are at the Senior level, the executive level but just below the political level, so I was a part of the core team that engaged with the transition before the election,” said Hogan.

Hogan elaborated further by explaining the transition team is at the Department of Energy now. Hogan stated after the inauguration then her team will engage with the appointed people and who they come in with once they get through their Senate confirmations. She said it’s quite a lengthy process.

“As you look back historically, the Secretary has frequently been nominated and confirmed within the first couple weeks but then they get to turn around and engage in selections of who’s going to be the Deputy, who’s going to be the Under Secretary and then important to me for personal reasons as well is who’s my boss going to be at the Assistant Secretary level for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,” said Hogan.

TAEBC President Matt Kisber

TAEBC President Matt Kisber

TAEBC President, Matt Kisber, made the following commitment to members and stakeholders as we begin a new year and transition to a new Administration in Washington.

  • First, inform the national energy agenda. Tennessee is a major player in the $1.3 trillion dollar global market and TAEBC has a lot of expertise to share.
  • Second, support TVA’s efforts to become the utility of the future. TVA is a great asset to the advanced energy economy and we welcome opportunities for collaboration and partnership.
  • Third, help Tennessee become the #1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. Advanced energy can help us reach that goal, and we stand ready to help make that a reality.
  • And fourth, foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups with the kick-off of the Energy Mentor Network, in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

During the event TAEBC also unveiled a three-part video series showcasing the people and businesses in Tennessee’s advanced energy industry. Tennessee’s advanced energy sector employs nearly 325,000 people and contributes more than $33 billion to the state GDP.

If you’d like to view the videos, please go to the “What is Advanced Energy?” page of TAEBC’s website.

For more photos of the “Opportunities in Energy” event, visit TAEBC’s Flickr account.

There were also several panel discussions during “Opportunities in Energy” ranging from talking about how big some of Tennessee’s advanced energy wins were this year to what the top advanced energy trends are, and the innovations that are transforming the advanced energy industry at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The event also featured the official launch of the Energy Mentor Network – a structured mentorship program specifically for energy entrepreneurs and startups in Tennessee, powered by Launch Tennessee and TAEBC.