TVA, Ford, Verizon, Clayton Homes, Techstars and Local Business Discuss Opportunities in Advanced Energy
KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) held its eighth annual Opportunities in Energy event this afternoon. TAEBC’s end- of-year event presented by Verizon assembled business leaders from the likes of Ford, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Clayton Homes, Techstars, Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee to explore the widespread focus of Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.
“Advanced energy sector is a critical component of Tennessee’s economy,” said Cortney Piper, Vice President and Executive Director of TAEBC. “The ongoing success of this sector was on display today at Opportunities in Energy. It directly enhances the state’s competitiveness as a place to do business and establishes Tennessee as a national leader in the advanced energy marketplace.”
The virtual event featured panels on a wide range of advanced energy topics, including the Blue Oval City, how to meet corporate ESG goals and a presentation of the 2021 Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report. Attendees heard from a multitude of Tennessee business leaders including special guests: John Bruck (Director of UT’s Spark Innovation Center), Ray Knotts (Sr. Manager of Commercial Energy Solutions at TVA), Gabby Bruno (Regional Director of Government Relations at Ford), Mark Herbison (President and CEO at HTL Advantage), Tricia Martinez (Managing Director at Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator), Dan Miller (Program Lead at Innovation Crossroads and Susan Peluso (Director of Product Strategy at Verizon).
John Bruck shared significant insights into the continued development of UT’s Spark Innovation Center including the opening of applications for the UT Spark Cleantech Accelerator. Bruck also mentioned the new accelerator will welcome its first cohort of startups in June of 2022. This addition makes the Knoxville-Oak Ridge region the only location in America to host three high profile energy-focused business accelerators (Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Innovation Crossroads, TechStars Industries of the Future and now the Spark Cleantech Accelerator.)
Ford’s Regional Director of Government Relations, Gabby Bruno, contributed to the Blue Oval City panel perspective by sharing updates on the largest ever U.S. investment in electric vehicles at one time by any automotive manufacturer. Bruno highlighted Ford’s plans to invest $11.4 billion in the all new mega campus in Stanton, Tennessee which will result in the creation of approximately 6,000 jobs.
Earlier this year TAEBC released an updated economic impact report that measured the scope and scale of the state’s advanced energy economy, which includes the electric vehicle supply chain. Altogether, Tennessee’s advanced energy industry grew at a faster pace than the state’s overall economy and employs nearly 394,000 Tennesseans in more than 20,000 businesses that contribute almost $46 billion to the state’s GDP. For more information on that report, click here.
To view a recording of today’s event, please visit the TAEBC website.
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. For more information, visit: https://tnadvancedenergy.com/