Governor Bill Haslam's EmPower TN initiative aims to reduce energy consumption across the state through a strategy of "measuring and controlling energy use, investing in increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, and creating an operational environment of excellence."
The Tennessee General Assembly approved the first round of funding for the initiative as part of the state budget for 2015-2016. About $44 million in funds are currently available for energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy management projects at state agencies and departments, including the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Regents systems. Applications for funding are due by July 24, and selected projects will be announced in the fall. Projects are expected to be concentrated on high efficiency lighting fixtures and controls; upgraded and improved efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; and building energy management systems.
EmPower TN is expected to provide a total of $200 million in initial funding from 2016-2019, with $57 million in cumulative savings reinvested annually from 2020-2023, which will allow for a self-sustaining program. After 2023, EmPower TN investments are projected to yield $53.9 million in annual operating cost reductions for the state, plus an additional $12.1 million in annual savings that would be used in part to recover the cost of the initial investment. All told, that $200 million initial investment is expected to generate $1 billion in savings by 2035.
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