Tennessee group pushes to make state a leader in advanced energy

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Posted at 11:27 AM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 12:27:33-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A statewide effort is underway to launch advanced energy as an economic driver in Middle Tennessee.

On Monday, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council hosted a virtual roundtable with Middle Tennessee business leaders and state representatives to discuss growing the advanced energy industry across our state.

The advanced energy industry is a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. It uses energy more productively and reduced health and environmental costs.

Examples include electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, natural gas-fueled trucks and the latest wind, solar and nuclear technologies.

The group says globally, advanced energy is a $1.6 trillion market and the advanced energy sector pays Tennesseans an average wage of about $60,000 a year - which is significantly higher than the state’s economy-wide average.

The council’s executive director, Cortney Piper, said the state needs to remain a leader because it will continue to bring more opportunities and jobs.

"When we look at our landscape in terms of just opportunity for all Tennesseans, it's an energy. It's jobs and it's investment and energy, and to have a better future for Joe and Jane Q Public in the state of Tennessee, energy is really going to be the industry that takes us there. Not only because there are plenty of job opportunities spread across all 95 counties, but they are good quality paying jobs," Piper said.

Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council said there are about 6,000 businesses in the industry that employ 115,000 people in Middle Tennessee. Piper said if Tennessee claims a leadership role in this industry, it would be a major win for the state.

"We're also seeing a surge in electric vehicles. The state Economic and Community Development Commissioner [Bob] Rolf has stated he wants Tennessee to be the number one state in the electric vehicle supply chain so we have a lot of talent we have a lot of assets we have a lot of expertise in the state and for us to claim that leadership role and advanced energy use jobs and opportunity for Tennesseans," Piper said.