Several ‘National Drive Electric Week’ events scheduled in Tennessee

National Drive Electric Week is happening between September 9-17 this year, and Tennessee has a long list of events celebrating the alternative energy vehicles.

National Drive Electric Week is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlights the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more.

Started in 2011 as National Plug In Day with the simple idea to hold simultaneous events across the country on the same day, by popular demand the organizations has expanded to an entire week of events and changed the name to emphasize: drive electric. The organization expects National Drive Electric Week 2017 will again grow to include more events in more cities with more drivers reaching out to share the many advantages of driving electric with the public.

Each event is led by local plug-in drivers and advocates and typically includes some combination of EV parades, ride-and-drives, electric tailgate parties, press conferences, award ceremonies, informational booths, and more. Plug In AmericaSierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association serve as the national team providing support to the events throughout the country.

In Tennessee specifically, the following events have been planned:

  • In Memphis on Saturday, September 9 at Shelby Farms park in and around the EV charging stations under the solar panels, owners of electric cars will be on hand to show their cars and share their electric car ownership experiences. This will be happening from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • In Knoxville on Saturday, September 16 at the Whole Foods Market off Papermill, visitors can talk to long-time owners of electric vehicles and learn more about the different electric vehicles available today. Attendees can also learn about public electric vehicle charging stations at Whole Foods Market locations. You’re invited to come by and drive yourself in an all-electric Nissan LEAF from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • In Chattanooga on Station Street next to the Chattanooga Choo Choo, Drive Electric – Chattanooga has been invited to join this “Second Saturdays on Station Street” event. Several EV owners will be in attendance to display their vehicles and to answer questions from visitors. Several displays will also be visible to educate visitors on the many advantages to driving electric. This event is happening Saturday, September 9 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Wacker Polysilicon talks expansion, company history during TAEBC Energy Connect event

Wacker Polysilicon welcomed more than a dozen people to its facility to talk about the company’s history and its upcoming expansion during TAEBC’s summer Energy Connect event.

Mary Beth Hudson, Vice President of Wacker Polysilicon NA, Charleston Site Manager and TAEBC Board Member provided a keynote address giving those who attended insight into the global chemical company.

With a portfolio of hyper-pure polysilicon for semiconductor and photovoltaic applications, Wacker ranks among the world’s leading manufacturers in this field, offering customers comprehensive, solution-oriented expertise. Wacker’s Charleston, Tennessee facility, which started production of hyper-pure polysilicon in early 2016, represents a $2.5 billion commitment to state of the art, high value added manufacturing in the United States. According to Mary Beth Hudson, Vice President and Site Manager, Wacker is proud of its 650+ employees and 20,000+ metric tons annual manufacturing capability.

Mary Beth also commented that in addition to the Polysilicon plant, the company is excited about its recently announced $150 million investment and addition of some 50 full-time jobs to build a pyrogenic silica plant adjacent to the existing plant. This represents Wacker’s strategic business plan to expand its global footprint in the United States, the world’s second largest chemical market.

“Our vision is to expand our Tennessee plant further, boosting our U.S. production, exports, and jobs while contributing to and supporting the advanced energy sector,” said Mary Beth.

Energy Mentor Network Company: One Scientific

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is featuring the companies benefiting from the Energy Mentor Network program, which offers industry specific expertise from experienced mentors.

The Energy Mentor Network‘s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors. This gives Tennessee yet another advantage in grabbing its more than fair share of the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

In broad strokes, 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. After completing the program, startups will have an investable pitch deck, a rock solid business model and a plan to establish more traction. These tools will position Tennessee’s entrepreneurs to raise capital, request other funds like SBIR grants, and scale their company.

TAEBC is featuring EMN company One Scientific. Headquartered in Johnson City, Tennessee, One Scientific Inc. is committed to empowering the world with a sustainable source of fuel. With specialization in advanced manufacturing research & development, its award-winning team has created two significant early stage products that when commercialized will have the ability to produce a source of sustainable hydrogen for Fuel Cell Vehicle fueling stations and stand-alone fuel cell power generation.

TAEBC is currently accepting applications from Tennessee advanced energy companies to apply for the Energy Mentor Network program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Startups” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

Tennessee auto manufacturers awarded for sustainability, energy efficiency practices

Nissan manufacturing operations in Smyrna, Tennessee recently received the 2017 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for the sixth year in a row.

This is the highest honor given to top organizations dedicated to protecting the environment by making their operations more energy efficient.

Nissan has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its continued commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy management.

Nissan’s efforts to reduce energy usage include switching to more efficient LED lighting, enhancing the compressed air leak production program, optimizing chilled water systems and using a paint process involving less volatile organic compounds that has cut energy usage by 30 percent.

Nissan’s Tennessee facility was also recently awarded the ENERGY STAR Certification for the eleventh year in a row, signifying Nissan’s spot among the top 25 percent of the automotive manufacturing industry for superior energy management.

Also Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant has been continuing to strengthen its energy policies. The Chattanooga facility is the first and only LEED Platinum certified automotive plant worldwide.

The plant has a solar park with 33,000 solar panels on 66 acres with a capacity of 9.5 million watts. Volkswagen also utilizes an advanced painting process that reduces CO2 emissions by 20 percent, and power efficient light bulbs installed in various lighting systems on site saves an estimated 20 percent energy compared to conventional industrial lighting.

More Tennessee cities are adopting LED lights, advanced energy technologies

An advanced energy trend is catching on in the Volunteer State as more cities make the switch to LED lights.

Knoxville’s City Council recently approved a contract to retrofit Knoxville’s nearly 30,000 streetlights with LEDs, setting the City on a path to significantly reduce carbon emissions, according to a release.

Council approved a more than $9 million contract with Siemens. The company expects to begin installation of the new lights across the city in late 2017 or early 2018. All work is expected to be complete by June 30, 2019.

By retrofitting Knoxville’s streetlights to LED technology, the City will reduce energy use, and take a major step toward exceeding its goal of reducing emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

“Infrastructure improvements like this are excellent ways for cities across the country to improve quality of life for their citizens, save a significant amount in energy costs and meet their sustainability goals,” said Marcus Welz, CEO of Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems.

City officials in Paris, Tennessee announced in February an energy efficiency project there will be launched. Leaders say they will be replacing more than 2,500 lights across the city to LEDs highlighting the project’s cost efficiency.

“It’s just an opportunity to do something progressive in our community and switch everything over to LED,” said City Manager Kim Foster.

Foster said they hope to start the process of replacing the lights in May, and this will be a continuing project over the next six to eight months.

Putnam County, Tennessee received a Clean Tennessee Energy Grant, and the funds were used towards upgrading the county’s government buildings with more energy-efficient LEDs.

The LEDs will be installed in the 911 center, the community center, the Putnam County Justice Center and agriculture buildings among others.

The light bulbs began getting replaced in June 2016 and the county has until the end of this month to complete the project.