State launches energy programs

The Tennessee Energy Education Initiative and the Qualified Energy Conversation Bond Program launched Monday during a Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council event in Jackson.

Both programs are designed to help Tennessee businesses and organizations become more energy efficient and increase the use of renewable energy to improve competitiveness, drive economic growth and reduce environmental impacts.

“These two programs add to an ever-growing array of options available to Tennesseans who wish to reduce their environmental impact and their energy costs,” Bob Martineau, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation commissioner, said in a release. “With smart, targeted investments, now we will consume less energy as a state in years to come, helping to insulate us from energy cost fluctuations and providing a potential cushion against other market factors. Sustainability is how we can make Tennessee better in many ways at once.”

The Tennessee Energy Education Initiative was created through a public-private partnership led by the TDEC Office of Energy Programs. Funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act through the U.S. Department of Energy and the TDEC Office of Energy Programs, the initiative is coordinated by Pathway Lending and supported by energy-focused organizations statewide, including TREEDC.

“The Tennessee Energy Education Initiative is a statewide effort that puts sustainability knowhow in the hands of those who will make the biggest impact with it — from business owners to municipal leaders,” said Clint Gwin, president of Pathway Lending. “More than a dozen organizations with an interest in energy and environment have come together to make this program possible and free of charge.”

The state’s Qualified Energy Conservation Bond Program will be overseen by TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs. QECBs are direct subsidy bonds, similar to Build America Bonds, and may be issued by state and local governments to finance qualified energy conservation projects. Qualified energy conservation projects include energy efficiency capital expenditures in public buildings, green communities programs, renewable energy production, various research and development, and energy reduction measures for mass transit.

More information on QECBs may be found here.