More than 30 members attended the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council’s annual meeting on February 10 in Nashville to hear about 2016 events, activities and initiatives. Members also learned about the growing strength of the state’s advanced energy sector.


Ted Townsend, Chief of Staff for TNECD, gave an energizing presentation on the role of advanced energy in Tennessee, reinforcing the important role TAEBC plays in economic development in the state. Advanced energy is a rapidly expanding and lucrative growth sector. Nearly 375,000 jobs are supported in the state’s advanced energy sector.

Townsend noted that advanced energy requires skilled labor and is a source of high quality jobs. The average annual earnings for the sector is $76,126, compared to $45,410 for all industries. The sector provides a home for the state’s emerging workforce, reinforcing TNECD’s goal for 55% of Tennesseans to be equipped with a college degree or certificate by 2025.

Advanced energy ultimately contributes significantly to state and local economies, contributing $33.4 billion to state gross domestic product, while workers in the advanced energy sector pay more than $820 million in sales tax to state and local governments.

Townsend said TNECD expects growth in advanced energy employment throughout the state to continue at a percentage of 13.2% through 2025. Growth since 2010 has kept pace at 17.6%, outpacing the national average of 13.7%.

TNECD’s overall mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs, attracting new corporate investment and facilitating expansion and economic growth. TNECD’s ongoing strategies include: new business recruitment, business expansion, growing entrepreneurship, community development, aligning with education and rural development.

In addition to Townsend, Michael Scalf from TVA gave an update on the newly formed stakeholder group “Distributed Generation-Information Exchange.” TAEBC formed a subcommittee to help guide participation in TVA’s distributed generation working group. According to Scalf, TVA anticipates distributed generation to play a major role in the nation’s energy future. Distributed generation generates power on-site, rather than centrally, eliminating the cost, complexity, and interdependencies associated with transmission and distribution.

In other annual meeting news:

  • TAEBC Board appointed Matt Kisber, CEO of Silicon Ranch Corporation, as 2016 President; and elected new members Jim DeMouy, VP of Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability with Bridgestone Americas; and Jeff Kanel, PhD, CEO of Renewable Algal Energy.
  • Members previewed 2016 TAEBC activities including the launch of member hosted networking events. The first event will be hosted in May by Genera Energy, a biomass company based in Vonore. More information, including dates, will be announced next month. For sponsorship information, contact Cortney Piper.
  • TAEBC has launched a new events calendar on the website, serving as a quick and convenient way for members to stay updated on yearly activities and networking opportunities.
  • Later in the Spring, filming will begin on two TAEBC videos, “This Is Advanced Energy” and “Inside Advanced Energy.” The videos are designed to highlight advanced energy industries and entrepreneurs, showcasing members and their work to help Tennessee gain its fair share of the global $1 trillion advanced energy market by fostering growth of technologies, companies and jobs. Thanks to sponsors Silicon Ranch Corporation and Strata-G, the videos are anticipated to be a valuable resource for TAEBC and an easy way to share, educate and inform. Sponsorship opportunities for additional videos are available. For sponsorship information, contact Cortney Piper.