In 2015, the Tennessee General Assembly approved funding in the FY 2015-16 State budget for EmPower TN, Governor Bill Haslam's statewide “lead-by-example” strategy to reduce the State’s energy consumption and costs across state-owned and managed facilities through the implementation of energy efficiency projects and energy management systems and processes. The appropriated budget is in excess of $43 million, with $37.5 million dedicated to energy efficiency (EE) projects and the remainder to the procurement and implementation of an enterprise utility data management (UDM) system and related energy management infrastructure. The UDM system will collect energy cost and consumption data and allow for the analysis, tracking, reporting, comparison and benchmarking for every State facility.
The State of Tennessee does not have a State-administered ESPC program. In 2013, TDEC OEP received an award under the U.S. DOE’s State Energy Program to stimulate energy investments in the hard to reach public sectors in Tennessee. The funding was used to provide education, outreach and technical assistance to local jurisdictions, K-12 schools, and public housing authorities to support implementation of energy efficiency, energy management and renewable energy projects in local government buildings, k-12 schools, and public housing facilities in Tennessee. This program encouraged GESPC as a means of financing such projects. The project period under this grant ended on January 31, 2017.
Tennessee has more than $100 million in completed projects covering most sectors of government. Recent examples include:
- In 2017, Bledsoe County Schools in Pikeville reached a $500,000 energy savings milestone as a result of a GESPC entered into in 2009. Bledsoe County Schools installed $1 million in infrastructure and efficiency improvements across its five schools and Board of Education building.
- In 2015, Knox County implemented a $12.45 million GESPC that included the installation of more than 5 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic systems on the rooftops of 11 schools plus the Knox County Central Building, and ground-mount solar arrays at the Detention and Juvenile Justice Facilities. The project is expected to provide more than $29 million in energy savings to the County, as well as generating an aggregate approximately $14 million in positive bottom-line cash flow for the County over the next 30 years.
Tennessee ESC Chapter organized in 2001 and meets on a quarterly basis. The Chapter is hoping for more public sector involvement.