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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 7, 2023) – The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) hosted its 2023 Annual Member Meeting at the Schneider Electric Nashville Hub on March 7, gathering TAEBC members and industry stakeholders to celebrate Tennessee’s growing advanced energy economy.
TAEBC leadership also voted to add two new members to its Board of Directors. Heath Jones, Managing Director North America, Hitachi Zosen Inova, and Monique Parker, Senior Vice President of Safety, Environment, Health (SEH) and Sustainability, Piedmont Lithium, were appointed by unanimous consent to serve three-year terms on the Board. Incumbent Board Members, Matt Kisber, Co-Founder and CEO of Silicon Ranch Corporation, and Robert Hardin, Ph.D., Senior Quality Manager, Wacker Polysilicon North America, were reappointed to serve three-year terms.
Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) is the Swiss-based renewable energy arm of Japan’s Hitachi Zosen Corporation. HZI’s U.S. operations specialize in converting municipal and agricultural waste into clean, renewable electricity, natural gas, and hydrogen. After relocating its North American hub from Georgia to Tennessee in 2020, HZI recently announced a $6.6 million investment to expand operations at its Knoxville, Tennessee-based headquarters, creating 90 new jobs in Knox County.
Piedmont Lithium is a producer of lithium hydroxide, a critical component in the supply chain for both the electric vehicle (EV) and battery storage markets. In 2022, Piedmont Lithium announced a $582 million investment to establish a lithium hydroxide processing, refining and manufacturing facility in McMinn County, Tenn., creating 117 new jobs. Piedmont’s Tennessee Lithium project will support energy security in the U.S. and the transition to a clean energy economy in North America.
Kicking off the Annual Member Meeting, Katina Stavrou, Senior Manager for North American Supply Chain at Schneider Electric and TAEBC Board Member, welcomed about 100 attendees to Schneider Electric’s Nashville Hub, and Cortney Piper, Executive Director of TAEBC, presented highlights from member companies, recapped TAEBC’s 2022 accomplishments, and announced new goals and priorities for 2023.
“2022 was an extraordinary year for advanced energy in Tennessee,” said Piper. “Clean energy companies across the nation have committed 101,000 new jobs since President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. With almost 12,000 of those jobs and $12 billion in new clean energy projects coming to the Volunteer State, Tennessee is poised to lead the nation in advanced energy investments.”
The meeting featured several panels and presentations from advanced energy leaders across the state.
Laura Zapata, CEO and Co-Founder of Nashville-based Clearloop, and Terry Wimberley, President and CEO of Paris Board of Public Utilities, discussed Clearloop and Rivian’s partnership to bring Waypoints 100 percent carbon-free renewable energy EV charging site to Paris, Tennessee, as well as their previously-announced partnership to support the development of one megawatt of the Paris Solar Farm project. Their approach brings solar energy to part of the country where new renewable development can help to maximize system-wide carbon reductions.
Bill Pfleger, Project Development and Engineering Manager, North America East, Schneider Electric, gave a brief overview of Scheider, which was recognized as the world’s most sustainable company in 2021 by Corporate Knights Global 100 Index.
Steve Seifried, Account Executive for the Tennessee Region at Ameresco and TAEBC Board President, led a panel discussing Chattanooga’s plan to add dozens of smart city intersections through an ongoing partnership supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Representatives from the Center of Urban Informatics and Progress at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, startup accelerator The Company Lab, the City of Chattanooga, and EPB all participated.
Additionally, Curt Jawdy, Senior Manager of Operational Research and Support at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), gave an update on TVA’s Integrated Resource Plan. And Victoria Hirschberg, Assistant Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development for the University of Tennessee System, previewed a new concept to connect statewide advanced energy and transportation initiatives.
Closing out the program, leaders from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Wacker, and Piedmont Lithium discussed why so many advanced energy companies are moving to or expanding in Tennessee. And the University of Memphis introduced a new National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Center involving the University of Memphis called the Center for Electrified and Autonomous Trucking.
To continue the celebration of Tennessee’s advanced energy sector, the next episode of Energizing Tennessee, a podcast powered by TAEBC and FirstBank, will feature a discussion about the Tennessee Green Star Partnership (TGSP) and how manufacturers are meeting their sustainability goals with advanced energy solutions. The episode features guests from TGSP, Nucor Steel Memphis, Florim USA, and DENSO. TAEBC Board President Seifried serves as the episode’s guest host, which will be released Tuesday, March 14.
About Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council
TAEBC champions advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy. Advanced energy is technology neutral and includes electricity and transportation. Anything that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure or more efficient is in the tent. No other entity in the state concentrates specifically on this robust sector. We educate public officials and business leaders about Tennessee’s advanced energy economy, establish strategic partnerships to connect assets with opportunities, and inform policy that expands and strengthens the industry. TAEBC hosts the Energizing Tennessee podcast, which explores the latest news and insights about the advanced energy sector. For more information, visit: https://tnadvancedenergy.com/.