TAEBC Op-Ed: Advanced energy means jobs for Tennesseans

(Originally appeared on The Knoxville News Sentinel

By Cortney Piper, Executive Director, Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council

By almost any metric, Tennessee had a strong 2020 in advanced energy, a robust sector with 18,000 businesses contributing nearly $40 billion to the state’s gross domestic product. And the year’s growth in the state’s electric vehicle landscape received national and international headlines. As that happened, more elected officials realized that advanced energy means job creation, which stretches beyond political lines and helps Tennesseans directly in a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has tightened other areas of employment.

Among the 2020 victories are General Motors’ $2 billion plan for its electric vehicle plant in Spring Hill that will build Cadillac’s SUV. Volkswagen announced its own EV SUV at its Chattanooga plant. Last January, VW, the University of Tennessee, the UT Research Foundation and Oak Ridge National Laboratory partnered on VW’s first innovation hub in North America at the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm. And in the fall, VW broke ground on a $22 million Chattanooga lab to test EV batteries.

With leadership from Gov. Bill Lee, Tennesseans can anticipate more growth in advanced energy and job creation. Electric vehicles are a primary focus for state resources, which included incentives for the GM plant. Nissan and VW have also worked closely with state and local government over the years.

Bob Rolfe, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said that Lee’s goal is to make Tennessee the country’s most business-friendly state and praised the EV progress in a December Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) webinar. Electric vehicle jobs are advanced energy jobs. And transportation electrification can pull us through this pandemic-induced economic downturn just like energy has done countless times before, starting in 1933 with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

To continue reading this article, follow this link. For more information about how the advanced energy sector creates high-quality jobs and fuels growth for existing businesses, read Piper’s earlier guest column, “Transportation electrification can recharge Tennessee’s economy.”

Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Public Information Session

In 2015, Volkswagen (VW) publicly admitted that it had secretly and deliberately installed a defeat device—software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators—in approximately 590,000 model year 2009 to 2016 motor vehicles containing 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesel engines. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint against VW, alleging that the company had violated the federal Clean Air Act.

$2.9 billion in settlement funds from the resulting 2.0 and 3.0 liter partial settlements with the federal government will be placed into an Environmental Mitigation Trust, which will fund environmental mitigation projects that reduce NOx emissions. Trust funds will be allocated among beneficiaries (states, certain territories, and tribes) based on the number of impacted VW vehicles in their jurisdictions.

Tennessee’s initial, combined allocation under the approved 2.0 and 3.0 liter partial settlements is $45,759,914.40. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has been identified by Governor Bill Haslam as the Lead Agency for purposes of administering Tennessee’s trust allocation.

TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs (OEP) is planning to hold a VW Diesel Settlement public information session in Memphis. This meeting will provide an overview of the VW Diesel Settlement, the Environmental Mitigation Trust, TDEC’s process for developing a proposed Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for Tennessee, and an overview of the types of eligible mitigation actions that can be funded by Tennessee’s Environmental Mitigation Trust allocation.

This public information session will be free and open to the public. Please note that registration is required due to space restrictions. Should there be additional demand and interest, TDEC OEP will coordinate and host additional meetings in other locations throughout the State.

  • November 17, 1:30 pm – 3pm Central-Memphis Public Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN: Register here.

For additional information on the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement in Tennessee, please visit TDEC OEP’s website. OEP also advises interested parties to subscribe to its VW Settlement email list. If you have questions, please contact Alexa Voytek at Alexa.Voytek@tn.gov or 615-532-0238

TDEC hosts Volkswagen Diesel Settlement public informational sessions

In 2015, Volkswagen (VW) publicly admitted that it had secretly and deliberately installed a defeat device- software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators- in approximately 590,000 model year 2009 to 2016 motor vehicles containing 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesel engines. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint against VW, alleging the company had violated the federal Clean Air Act.

$2.9 billion in settlement funds from the resulting 2.0 and 3.0 liter partial settlements with the federal government will be placed into an Environmental Mitigation Trust, which will fund environmental mitigation projects that reduce NOx emissions. Trust funds will be allocated among beneficiaries (states, certain territories, and tribes) based on the number of impacted VW vehicles in their jurisdictions.

Tennessee’s initial, combined allocation under the approved 2.0 and 3.0 liter partial settlements is $45,759,914.40. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has been identified by Governor Bill Haslam as the Lead Agency for purposes of administering Tennessee’s trust allocation.

TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs (OEP) is planning to hold a VW Diesel Settlement public information session in Memphis. This meeting will provide an overview of the VW Diesel Settlement, the Environmental Mitigation Trust, TDEC’s process for developing a proposed Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for Tennessee, and an overview of the types of eligible mitigation actions that can be funded by Tennessee’s Environmental Mitigation Trust allocation.

The following public information session will be free and open to the public. Please note that registration is required due to space restrictions. Should there be additional demand and interest, TDEC OEP will coordinate and host additional meetings in other locations throughout the State.

  • November 17, 1:30pm – 3pm CT – Memphis Public Library, 3030 Poplar Avenue Memphis, TN. Register here.

Two public information sessions have already taken place in Nashville and Knoxville.