by Cortney Piper, Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council
When members of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) visited Washington, DC in September as delegates to the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit, the trip marked the importance the Volunteer State plays in the nation’s advanced energy economy.
While the trip provided an opportunity to showcase Oak Ridge National Lab’s (ORNL) achievements in United States (US) clean energy manufacturing competitiveness, it also gave delegates a chance to reflect on TAEBC’s achievements over the past few years and how those successes helped lead to a productive DC visit, culminating in the announcement of two new efforts by Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy David Danielson.
Those efforts include a national laboratory-industry collaboration pilot and a competitive solicitation to leverage national labs’ high-performance computing capabilities—to strengthen US clean energy manufacturing competitiveness.
I remember when TAEBC first captured the attention of Assistant Secretary Danielson in Chattanooga in 2014. The Assistant Secretary visited the city to learn more about how public and private partnerships can help businesses access assets for clean energy manufacturing; he listened to what TAEBC is doing to champion advanced energy in the Southeast and heard feedback from the private sector regarding how best to access and leverage federal energy assets in the state.
Bringing big and small businesses together with our advanced energy assets and a unified mission means everything to the advanced energy economy. Assistant Secretary Danielson carried many of the ideas shared, from Chattanooga to DC, and those ideas were reflected in the announcement in September of the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy sector’s most recent efforts as well as the Small Business Voucher Program announced in July.
Participating in the DC trip and witnessing the focus placed on Tennessee throughout the Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit clearly demonstrated that TAEBC continues to provide value to the membership by putting a national spotlight on the region. The Department of Energy (DOE) is listening and recognizing Tennessee for what we have and what we can achieve.
We began TAEBC as a business council designed to educate public officials and business leaders about Tennessee’s advanced energy assets, connecting assets with opportunities to create economic impact, and informing policy that expands and strengthens the industry.
We continue to support Tennessee in its effort to shine as a leader in this $1.3 trillion global market, helping economic development stakeholders attract businesses to the state, creating jobs for residents. Assistant Secretary Danielson’s recent announcements are examples of the growth and advancement that are central to TAEBC’s mission.
We have much to be proud of, much work to achieve and much more opportunities to discover. Let’s remember that our work matters; our goals are clear; and we have Washington‘s ear.
Thank you to all fellow delegates who helped bring home the message to DC that Tennessee holds the key to powering advanced energy throughout the nation.