The “AM” in RAMP stands for advanced manufacturing-Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. There is no “E” for energy to be found in that acronym so, some of you might be wondering why TAEBC is participating in an advanced manufacturing event. Here’s why: energy plays a very important role in manufacturing and manufacturing (especially automotive) is an economic driver for the state.

As an end-use sector, manufacturing is the most diverse in the U.S. economy in terms of its energy sources, foundational technologies, and the products manufacturing produces.

The U.S. Department of Energy describes advanced manufacturing in this way—efficient, productive, highly integrated, and tightly controlled processes that have the potential to fill the innovation gap between research and full “to scale” industrial production. Energy use is an integral part of this process, as are the end products advanced manufacturing produces that enables the cleaner, safer and more efficient consumption of energy.

A number of indicators suggest a gradual and sustained growth in jobs associated with the manufacture, installation and operation of advanced energy technologies, as discussed in A Roadmap for Tennessee’s Advanced Energy Economy.

Plus, an increasing number of innovative technologies will be commercially available over the next five years. Tennessee has an enormous inventory of advanced energy technologies at or near commercial viability. The presence of research capabilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, an innovation platform provided by TVA’s role as the nation’s largest utility, and the desire for greater energy efficiency among the state’s automobile manufacturing sector, together form a unique opportunity to test advanced energy technologies and push them into the marketplace

So, that’s why TAEBC is moderating a manufacturer’s energy roundtable at the 2014 RAMP Trade Conference and EXPO, Tuesday, October 7, 8:00 AM at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park in downtown Knoxville. Our roundtable will bring together Knox County manufacturers from the TAEBC summer listening session with Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and revisit our discussion about energy challenges and opportunities facing our manufacturers.