Google opens Clarksville-Montgomery County data center

Google recently opened its new, $600 million data center in Montgomery County. The data center’s power usage is matched with 100 percent renewable energy as part of a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). 

The Clarksville data center will employee a range of professionals, including engineers, maintenance, computer technicians, and more. Governor Bill Lee, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Bob Rolfe, Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durett, Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts, TVA CEO Jeffrey Lyash, Austin Peay State, and University President Dr. Alisa White joined Google executives for the opening ceremony on November 6.

“We welcome Google to Clarksville and are thrilled with the growing technology sector right here in Tennessee,” said Governor Bill Lee. “Our highly skilled workforce and Google’s reputation for innovation will be transformational for this area and beyond.”

Since initially announcing its investment in the area, Google has given more than $450,000 to local nonprofits and schools. The company has also worked with Austin Peay State University on the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative.

“While this project is a part of a larger nationwide network of data centers, Google has worked hard to make a strong local impact. We are grateful to Clarksville and Montgomery County for welcoming us into this great community, and that is why we have made a concentrated effort to give back,” said Enoch Moeller, Google Data Center Site Lead. “We are thankful for the strong partners we have met throughout the process including, the State of Tennessee, both local governments, the Montgomery County school system, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Austin Peay State University, and many more.”

Google executives said from the outset of the deal being finalized that Clarksville-Montgomery County offered many of the most desired attributes on the company’s site-selection checklist. Those include a trained and tech-savvy workforce, as well as the right energy infrastructure and pad-ready, developable land.

(Some information used from The Leaf Chronicle)

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.

TVA seeks comment on Draft Environmental Assessment regarding private-scale solar programs

TVA is seeking comment on its Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposal to close the Green Power Providers program and bringing a new private-scale solar offering to market.

The public comment period runs October 9 through November 8. The Draft EA and online comment form can be found at www.tva.com/nepa. Or here.

As the market evolves, TVA continually evaluates its renewable programs and strategic direction. While utility-scale solar provides the least-cost approach to add solar in the Valley, market analysis also highlights the demand for private-scale solar. TVA believes that this new offering will reflect the needs of those wanting to invest in private solar.

Background

TVA, partnering with local power companies and TVPPA, has supported solar generation in the Tennessee Valley through a number of pilots and programs for nearly two decades in order to gain knowledge, experience, and promote solar as a renewable option to our customers. Today we have 3,745 installations providing 1,099 MWAC operating and contracted capacity.

In 2017, a stakeholder group, the Solar Strategies Initiative, was convened representing multiple interests to offer a recommended path forward. Three key recommendations had strong support:

  • TVA should focus efforts on utility scale projects
  • Solar growth should follow demand and economics
  • Resources and efforts are needed to educate customers

Consequently, TVA has evaluated its renewable programs and proposed closing the Green Power Providers program effective January 1, 2020. To address the demand for private-scale renewables, TVA and its partners, including TenneSEIA, is working to propose a new private-scale solution. Using input from people across the valley a concept was put forward and is now under review in the Draft EA. It contains:

  • A network of qualified installers
  • Installation guidelines, best practices, inspection standards, and commissioning protocols
  • Training and educational material

If approved, the new private-scale solar offering will go into effect in 2020.

TVA Board of Directors Approves 2019 Final Integrated Resource Plan

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Board of Directors approved the 2019 Final Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) at its quarterly business meeting in Knoxville, Tenn. After a Record of Decision is published in September, TVA will retire its 2015 IRP and begin using the 2019 IRP as its long-term plan to meet energy demands over the next two decades.

TVA took input from stakeholders and the public during the 2019 IRP drafting process to make sure it continues to provide reliable, affordable and clean electricity throughout the region. Following the release of the draft IRP on Feb. 15, 2019, TAEBC submitted comments in April. The final 2019 IRP and associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were published in July. 

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

For more information about the 2019 IRP, please visit TVA’s website.

Lunch & Learn with TVA board member Jeff Smith and Jeff Lyash

Join us for a lunch and learn with TVA board member Jeff Smith and Jeff Lyash, TVA’s President and CEO!

There will be a Q&A session during the program. RSVP Here!

 

This event is free to TAEBC Members and $25 for TAEBC Non-Members.

 

When: Monday, July 15, 2019

Beginning at 11:30AM ET

 

Where: UT-Oak Ridge Facility

1201 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Suite 100

Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830

 

Click here for a map to the UT-Oak Ridge Facility.

Enter the facility using the side entrance with awning. Marked as “ENTRANCE” on the map.