Knoxville invests in advanced energy future

TVA and KUB to develop 200-MW solar farm, Mayor’s office outlines proposed investments

In 2019, the City of Knoxville set an ambitious clean-energy target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, compared with 2005 levels. Just last year, the Knoxville Utilities Board announced that 20 percent of the city’s electricity would come from renewable sources by 2023. Today, Knoxville is on its way to becoming a leader in the region for solar energy thanks to exciting new developments. 

TVA and KUB to develop 200-MW solar farm

To support Knoxville’s renewable energy transition, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced it has selected Origis Energy to build a 200-megawatt solar farm in Mississippi. KUB’s support also enabled 50 megawatts of new battery storage technology that will improve grid resiliency. 

“We take our commitment of being good stewards of our environment seriously, and we are thrilled to work with TVA to put our community on the map for renewable energy,” said Gabriel Bolas, KUB president and CEO, in a written statement. “This endeavor benefits residential and business customers who can know that their daily lives include green energy resources, leading the way to a sustainable future.”  

Mayor’s office outlines proposed investments 

TVA and KUB’s solar farm isn’t the only advanced energy news out of Knoxville. This past week, Mayor Indya Kincannon released her office’s proposed 2021-22 budget  that includes five key priorities, one of which is investing in a “clean and resilient future.” Using insight gathered from the Mayor’s Climate Council, the proposed budget involves:

  • $15.3 million in direct City support for Knoxville Area Transit (KAT), including $1.2 million for matching grants as KAT continues to convert its fleet to all-electric buses
  •  $150,000 for additional public electric vehicle charging stations and for charging infrastructure to support electrification of the City’s vehicle fleet
  • More than $4 million is committed to stormwater infrastructure and $721,000 is allocated to protect and expand Knoxville’s urban forest, both critical programs for resilience and a healthy environment

“We can and will lead by example in reducing carbon emissions,” said Mayor Kincannon in a written statement. “My proposed budget takes the next important steps toward reaching those goals. We’re building the transformational infrastructure now that will enable us to be cleaner and greener for generations to come.”

Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about our members, advanced energy news and upcoming events. Also, if you’re not already a member, become a member today!

New Administration nominates four new TVA Board members

This week, President Joe Biden announced four nominations for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board of Directors. This announcement follows the appointment of Beth Harwell and Brian Noland last year by former President Donald Trump.

The nominees include:

Beth Geer

Beth Prichard Geer is Chief of Staff to former Vice President Al Gore and serves as a member of Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s Sustainability Advisory Committee. Geer has extensive policy and outreach experience on issues including climate change, environmental justice, and regenerative agriculture. She has served in senior roles in the Clinton-Gore White House, Department of Labor, and United States Senate. As a native of rural Tennessee, she graduated with honors from Middle Tennessee State University and earned the Public Leadership Executive Certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Managers in Government program.  She resides in Brentwood, Tennessee with her husband, Dr. John Geer.

Robert Klein

Robert P. Klein is a lifelong resident of Chattanooga having attending Hamilton County public schools graduating from Tyner High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and National Beta Club.  He also attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Klein served in the Tennessee Army National Guard where received an Honorable Discharge.

He began his professional career at the Chattanooga Gas Company before continuing at the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (now EPB) where he worked in the Overhead Line Department.  He completed the Joint Lineman Apprenticeship Program becoming a Journeyman Lineman in 1982.  He furthered his career by becoming a Line Foreman supervising the building and maintaining of the power distribution system. Klein took a leave of absence with EBP to work with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 175 and was appointed in 1998 as an International Representative with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).  In 2003 he was appointed as the International Vice President of the IBEW Tenth District, which consists of Tennessee, Arkansas, North and South Carolina.  He was re-elected as Vice President at the 37th and 38th IBEW International Conventions.

During his career Klein has served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the United Way of Chattanooga, Board of Directors for the Tennessee Labor-Management Conference, Board of Directors for the Tennessee Safety and Health Congress, sat on the Tennessee Valley Trades and Labor Council, where is served as President for fourteen (14) years.  He also sat on the Tennessee Valley Authority Labor -Management Committee as well as on the Board of Directors for the Southeast Labor-Management Public Affairs Committee.  Additionally, he was a Trustee for the IBEW-NECA Family Medical Healthcare Plan.  He officially retired from EPB in 2011 and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 2015.

Kimberly Lewis

Kimberly Caudle Lewis of Huntsville, Alabama, is the Chief Executive Officer of PROJECTSYZ, Inc., a business that provides services and products in the areas of engineering, logistics, technical services, manufacturing, and international foreign military sales. She leads a workforce that supports federal and commercial customers across several diverse subsidiaries and at locations across the US and around the world. Lewis has a 25-year career spanning business operations and management, technology, and federal government contracting.

A life-long resident of Madison County, Alabama, Lewis would later become the first black female elected as Board Chair of the Huntsville / Madison Chamber of Commerce and most recently, the first minority owner of North Alabama’s only locally owned broadcast television station, WTZT-TV.

Lewis’ previous career roles and studies in healthcare and information technology set the foundation for starting PROJECTXYZ and where she was previously involved in management of large-scale IT implementations and projects for large healthcare companies. She earned a degree in Computer Information Systems at John C. Calhoun State Community College.

Michelle Moore

A social entrepreneur and former White House official with roots in rural Georgia, Michelle Moore is a purposeful leader with a passion for connecting clean energy with economic growth. Her passion for community power and getting good stuff done is rooted in her faith and the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Moore currently serves as CEO of Groundswell, a nonprofit that builds community power through community solar, clean energy, and resilience programs that share power, savings, and economic opportunity with more than four thousand families. Her accomplishments range from building the global green building movement as a senior executive with the U.S. Green Building Council to leading the sustainability and infrastructure delivery teams for the Obama Administration.

Moore got her start in sustainability in 1997 as Director of eBusiness for Interface Inc. in her hometown of LaGrange GA, where working for Ray Anderson showed her how to connect people, planet, and profitability and the pathway to “doing well by doing good.” Moore is married to Linwood Boswell, a local music mainstay, father of three, and community real estate agent in Richmond, Virginia.

Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about our members, advanced energy news and upcoming events. Also, if you’re not already a member, become a member today!

TAEBC Lunch and Learn with TVA emphasizes advanced energy priorities for the Valley, importance of transportation electrification efforts

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council hosted a virtual Lunch and Learn with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Jeannette Mills, Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer, on November 18. Mills was joined by three other special guests from TVA: Dan Pratt, Vice President of Customer Delivery; Amy Henry, Director of Transformative Innovation; and Aaron Melda, SVP of Transmission Power Supply and Support.

Mills drives TVA’s vision and execution for relationships with customers, communities, government officials, stakeholder groups, and regional industry. She also oversees TVA’s economic development activities and its role as regulator. Jeannette came to TVA in February 2020 with over 30 years of commercial and regulatory experience in the energy, utility, and consumer services sectors.

During her presentation, Mills spoke about TVA’s advanced energy priorities, COVID-19 response efforts, economic development work, long-term partnerships, and Flexibility Option. She discussed the ways advanced energy serves as an economic development driver in Tennessee. Areas include the lithium ion battery market driving original equipment manufacturer expansion (OEM); TVA’s generation mix and renewable solutions encouraging recent electric vehicle (EV) and EV OEM announcements; and economic development partnerships with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Speaking about Flexibility Options for local power companies (LPCs), Mills discussed a few notable flexibility projects and said TVA believes the initial 3-5 percent flexible generation enabled through the option is “a starting point to learn together with the LPCs.”

“We’re really excited about this new component of flexibility and so are our local power companies,” said Mills. “We believe the flexibility projects are a win-win for everybody.”

Regarding EVs, Mills reiterated TVA’s approach to accelerate EV adoption through partnerships to remove market barriers in key areas: charging infrastructure availability; EV availability and offerings; innovative and supportive policies; and consumer awareness. She mentioned the TVA Board of Directors recent approval of a new commercial rate structure to promote the expansion of EV charging infrastructure.

“The growing EV market is a significant opportunity for TVA and the Valley as a whole,” she said.

Looking ahead at TVA’s transformative innovation initiatives, Mills outlined the six key technologies: storage integration, EV evolution, grid transformation, connected communities, advanced nuclear solutions, and decarbonization options.

At the close of her presentation, Mills invited attendees to register for the “2019 IRP Near-Term Action Update” on December 9 from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. EST. The virtual event will provide an update on the progress on near-term actions in the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan. Topics include TVA’s fleet, grid transformation, energy usage and renewable energy. Register here.

During the Q&A session, Mills was joined by Pratt, Henry, and Melda. Panelists answered questions on a wide variety of topics, including how TVA plans to transform the grid in the next few years and TVA’s Community Care Fund, which provides matching funds to address hardships created by the pandemic in families and communities. They also answered several questions on the topic of EVs.

“EVs are a perfect sweet spot in the Valley for the three Es we talk about,” said Pratt, highlighting the energy, economic development, and environmental benefits of EV growth in the state. “The Valley is perfectly situated to help this EV technology grow and expand.”

Cortney Piper, Executive Director of TAEBC, provided closing remarks by thanking panelists and attendees. She discussed TAEBC’s Op-Ed, “Transportation electrification can recharge Tennessee’s economy” and the organization’s commitment to working with TVA and other stakeholders and desire to serve as a resource and partner in pursuing advanced energy strategies.

“We are in a very unique position to use energy again as an economic development and job creation strategy to pull us out of this recession,” Piper said. “And as an organization, we believe advanced transportation, specifically, which would include electric vehicles, has great, great potential.”

Missed or loved the event? Watch the recording or view Mills’ presentation.

TAEBC Lunch and Learn with TVA

Join TAEBC for a virtual lunch and learn with TVA’s Jeannette Mills, Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer! RSVP here.

About this Event

Join TAEBC for a virtual lunch and learn with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Jeannette Mills, Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer, on Wednesday, November 18, beginning at 12:00 p.m. EDT! The event will also feature three additional TVA special guests: Dan Pratt, Vice President of Customer Delivery; Amy Henry, Director of Transformative Innovation; and Aaron Melda, SVP of Transmission Power Supply & Support.

Jeannette Mills drives TVA’s vision and execution for relationships with customers, communities, government officials, stakeholder groups, and regional industry. She also oversees TVA’s economic development activities and its role as regulator. Jeannette came to TVA in February 2020 with over 30 years of commercial and regulatory experience in the energy, utility, and consumer services sectors.

During the event, Jeannette will share about TVA’s advanced energy priorities, Flexibility Proposal, long-term partnerships, and more. This event is free for TAEBC members and elected and government officials. It is $15 for non-members. The webinar will be presented via Zoom with time for audience Q&A.

About TVA

TVA is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, and virtually all of its revenues come from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

Advanced Energy 101 for LPCs: Traditional and Innovative Financing Models for Distributed Generation

Traditional and Innovative Financing Models for Distributed Generation: Advanced Energy 101 for LPCs. RSVP here
Passcode: a3*3Sf?I

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 third webinar in our series is “Traditional and Innovative Financing Models for Distributed Generation.” Panelists include:

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

Steve Noe, Director, Strategic Energy Solutions, Seven States Power, will provide opening and closing remarks.

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