The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter in May 1933 to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected by the Great Depression. The enterprise was a result of the efforts of Senator George W. Norris of Nebraska. TVA was envisioned not only as a provider, but also as a regional economic development agency that would use federal experts and electricity to rapidly modernize the region's economy and society.TVA's service area covers most of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, and small slices of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. It was the first large regional planning agency of the federal government and remains the largest. Under the leadership of David Lilienthal , TVA became a model for America's governmental efforts to seek to assist in the modernization of agrarian societies in the developing world. Wikipedia.
News Article | April 20, 2017
Shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, it was announced that a March for Science would be held Washington DC and in a host of other cities in the United States and around the world to protest the new Administration’s apparent anti-science agenda—from denial of climate change to dismantling the EPA, to budget priorities that will cut key science programs throughout the country—and to lobby for science-based policymaking as well as support for scientific research to address the challenges of the 21st century. Meanwhile the Trump administration’s anti-science actions continue. Attorney General Sessions announced just this week that he was disbanding the National Commission on Forensic Science, which advises the federal government to enhance national standards in this area. I have no idea how the Marches for Science—now over 400 in number across the globe—will play out, and how the media will interpret them. A series of worrisome tweets emanating from the March for Science twitter account over the past week, following similar early statements made on the groups website that were subsequently removed, claimed that scientific research promotes violence and inequity in society. These have been disavowed but the variety of mixed communications from leaders of the march over the past months suggests at the very least that the organization encompasses a wide diversity of agendas. This is not surprising. After all, the scientific community has never been a one-issue community, like, say, the anti-abortion movement. And the current administration is pushing so many different buttons at the same time, with various attacks on fundamental rights, privacy, diversity, and freedom of expression, that these are bound to get caught up in any movement that promotes openness and free-inquiry, the hallmarks of the scientific enterprise. Despite any such concerns, a host major science organizations, from the American Association for the Advancement of Science to Union of Concerned Scientists, have signed on as supporters of the March, and are urging their members to join their local marches and speak out for science-based public policy on April 22. If the event becomes a ‘March By Scientists’ rather than a March for Science—namely if it is dominated by scientists labeling themselves as such, in costumes like white lab coats, rather than by members of the general public supporting evidence-based public policy—that too could be problematic. The March for science could then appear as a self-serving political lobbying effort by the scientific community to increase its funding base. Let’s imagine that this is not the case, and the organizers are wildly successful in attracting hundreds of thousands or million of marchers across the globe this coming Saturday. It is still reasonable to wonder what the long-term impact of the marches might be. After all, following the worldwide March for Women, in which millions of people marched around the world in support of women’s rights, the Trump administration reacted with a deaf ear. Just this past week the President signed legislation allowing states and local governments to withhold federal funding for Planned Parenthood, for example. The situation is different in this case however, and it may have nothing directly to do with science policy, or even in those areas where science should play a key role in affecting policy. Every week, the alternative realities invoked by the Trump administration are being demonstrated, by events, to be vacuous. The administration claimed it would immediately end, and then fix, problems with Obamacare, and failed miserably. Donald Trump campaigned against foreign military intervention, and this week alone initiated unilateral bombings in Syria and Afghanistan. Donald Trump pledged to immediately revise NAFTA, forcing Canada and Mexico to the table to make a better deal. Nothing has happened. He promised Mexico would pay for a wall. However the first $2 billion installment for a wall was included in the budget proposal he presented to Congress, compensated by cuts in funding in key areas of science, but also in support of the arts and humanities in this country. He promised to drain the swamp, but he removed restrictions on lobbyists entering government, and as the New York Times reported just this week, he has filled his administration with them, including individuals who are already facing conflict of interest allegations because of their former activities lobbying the organizations they now run. He lobbied against Wall Street, but former Wall Street leaders dominate his cabinet and economic advisory groups. He said he would release his taxes after his inauguration and has not. And he claimed he would immediate increase growth and the economy, but as the Wall Street Journal reported just this week, projections for growth of the economy have decreased sharply in recent months, as have retail sales, and the consumer price index. These are just a few of the immediate and obvious inconsistencies. Further, as administration policies on energy and the environment take effect, citizens in communities with drinking water at risk from environmental threats will find that programs to avert further deterioration have been cut, and coal mining communities will find that the natural gas glut has much more to do with the continuing demise of coal than Obama’s efforts to improve air quality in the US by restricting coal plants, which, whatever Trump may claim, are bad for the environment. (Indeed as the New York Times reported this week, more than 200,000 tons of coal ash residue each year are produced by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and this has been making its way into groundwater, potentially affecting drinking water supplies, even as the EPA is now delaying compliance with rules enacted to enhance the safe storage and disposal of coal ash.). The very essence of science, indeed that which is motivating the March for Science, involves skeptical inquiry and a reliance on empirical evidence and constant testing to weed out false hypotheses and unproductive or harmful technologies as we move toward a better understanding of reality: A willingness, in short, to force beliefs and policies to conform to the evidence of reality, rather than vice versa. Unlike its perception among much of the public and its presentation in many schools today, science is not simply a body of facts, but rather a process for deriving what the facts are. This process has helped us uncover hidden secrets of the Universe that never would have been dreamed of and producing technologies that have not only been largely responsible for the standard of living enjoyed by the first world today, but have also increased lifespans around the world. With this process the very possibility of "alternative facts" disappears. By providing such a constant and sharp explicit and observable contrast between policy and empirical reality, the Trump administration can encourage a new public skepticism about political assertions vs. reality, and a demand for evidence before endorsing policies and the politicians who espouse them—the very things that most marchers on April 22nd will be demanding. This skepticism is beginning to manifest itself in data. A Gallup poll result on April 17 indicated that only 45 percent of the public believe President Trump’s promises, a drop of 17 percent since February. In this regard, it is worth remembering the words of the Nobel Prizewinning physicist, Richard Feynman, who said: For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. Or, as the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick more colorfully put it: Reality is that which continues to exist even when you stop believing in it. The Trump Administration is discovering that obfuscation, denial, and hype may work when selling real estate, but in public arena eventually reality has a way of biting you in the butt. And the public is watching. The March for Science may be lucky to capitalize upon a growing awareness that there is no Wizard behind the curtain. The number of marchers, their backgrounds, or even their myriad messages may not drive the success of the March. Rather, it may be driven by the harsh examples coming out every day that reality exists independent of the desires or claims of those in power. In this case, the greatest asset the March for Science has going for it may be Donald Trump himself.
News Article | April 17, 2017
For 73 years the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts has annually given awards to educators who do an exemplary job of teaching others in their communities about conserving soil, water and all natural resources. The 2017 award for "Conservation Promotion" went to the Unaka High School / Drop Collaborative partnership. Accepting the award were Unaka High School teachers Josh Armentrout, Agriculture and Dr. Melissa Loveless, CTE Principal & Business Technology; Unaka High School Seniors: Jacob Rash and Austin Taylor; and Pattie Meyer, Executive Director, Drop Collaborative. The Drop Collaborative was founded in June 2015 on the principle that landowners of even modest means can collaborate with and strengthen their community by providing free usage of a portion of their land to (1) teach students farming; (2) donate their harvest to the community; and (3) mentor younger children in this process. Fulfilling all these requirements, Unaka High School students raise produce and animals on the Drop Farm in Carter County. To date they have donated over 1500 lbs. of produce to the local food bank. The Unaka High School & Drop Collaborative partnership was also recognized statewide in 2016, when it was named one of the top 5 CTE (Career and Technical Education) Models by the TN Dept. of Education and recipient of a Perkins Grant. The mission of the Drop Collaborative (DC) is to (1) support and maintain the excellence of the Unaka High collaboration utilizing the main 3 principles of the DC, and (2) reach out to other communities and landowners to share with them the benefits, opportunities and educational resources for their own Drop Collaborative. For more information, go to http://www.dropcollaborative.com. Tax deductible donations can be made through the fiscal sponsor, Appalachian RC&D Council (http://www.arcd.org). Since 1939 and currently serving 95 Districts in East, Middle, and West TN, the mission of Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts is: Helping Soil Conservation Districts conserve and enhance the natural resources of Tennessee through education, leadership and advocacy. Their annual awards are sponsored by Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit Mid-America, Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts, Tennessee Conservation District Employee Association, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Resources Conservation Service, and Tennessee Valley Authority.
News Article | April 18, 2017
IMAGE: The startup of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear power plant gave researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors a... view more Few jobs are more massive than that of building a nuclear power plant, a project that takes years and billions of dollars to complete. But once a new plant is finished, how do engineers know it will operate as designed? In October 2016, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began full commercial operation of its Watts Bar Unit 2 (WB2) nuclear power plant, the United States' first new nuclear reactor in 20 years. WB2 produces about 1,150 megawatts of electricity--enough to power 650,000 homes in East Tennessee. Furthermore, the power is generated without creating any carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, or other pollutants that affect air quality and contribute to climate change. After 6 months of testing, TVA authorized commercial operation of the plant. As part of the plant startup, TVA leveraged advanced computer simulation capability provided by the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), a US Department of Energy (DOE) Innovation Hub based at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Established in 2010 with partner institutions from government, academia, and industry, CASL develops and deploys advanced modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors to better understand plant behavior at unprecedented scales. Using data supplied by CASL members--TVA and the Westinghouse Electric Company--and high-performance computing (HPC) resources managed by the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL, CASL carried out the largest time-dependent simulation of a nuclear power plant to date. The simulations confirmed engineers' predictions related to the safe and reliable operation of WB2--including when the reactor would sustain a fission reaction--and provided a detailed picture of the reactor's hour-by-hour behavior during power escalation. The project marked the first time CASL had the opportunity to showcase its high-fidelity code suite, the Virtual Environment for Reactor Application (VERA), as a predictive tool. "Even though VERA is essentially a research code, the results of our Watts Bar Unit 2 simulations demonstrate that this is a state-of-the-art tool that industry can use to make real decisions," said Andrew Godfrey, senior R&D staff member at ORNL. "In this case, CASL's high-fidelity predictions helped cement TVA's and Westinghouse's confidence that the plant would operate as expected. That confidence was later confirmed when measurements made during Unit 2's initial cycle closely matched VERA's simulated results." Within light water reactors, electricity generation starts with controlled nuclear fission sustained by rods of uranium fuel. Knowing when and under what conditions the fuel will sustain a fission reaction is a critical piece of information for plant operators. Using VERA, the CASL team built a model of the WB2 reactor core before the plant's startup. Simulations of the core's initial cycle, conducted on the OLCF analysis cluster Eos, calculated reactor startup conditions and the underlying physics up to the point of self-sustaining fission. Specifically, the CASL team used VERA to predict boron levels, which control reactivity, and control rod reactivity worths, which quantify how much control rods affect the rate of reactivity. Both simulated figures were found to be well within acceptable levels, information that proved valuable to TVA at startup. "Our participation in CASL allowed us to obtain accurate design predictions for the startup of Watts Bar Unit 2," said David Brown, TVA Nuclear general manager of reactor engineering and fuels. "In the past, some reactor analysis methods have had trouble simulating the first cycle of a reactor. "To overcome the challenges, the supercomputing capability at Oak Ridge was used to complete several large calculations that were validated against actual plant measurements as Watts Bar Unit 2 reached criticality," he continued. "Validation of the data against real-world results will help CASL continue to improve modeling and simulation technology for the nuclear industry." During WB2's power escalation period between June and October, CASL continued to simulate plant power history through the startup phase, which spanned nine shutdown periods. Using Eos and Titan, the OLCF's 27-petaflop Cray XK7 supercomputer, the team produced hour-by-hour snapshots, or state points, that captured significant reactor properties in fine detail, including changes in short-lived fission product isotopes, power distribution, and core reactivity. In total, the CASL team calculated 4,128 state points, a task that required more than 2 million core-hours of compute time. The comprehensive WB2 simulations provided CASL with excellent validation of VERA, which includes new parallelization methods and application features. Additional work by the CASL team has adapted VERA to run on smaller-scale HPC systems (about 1,000 processing units) so that industry researchers can use the technology on in-house systems in the near future. Encouraged by CASL results and in anticipation of future expectations, Westinghouse is planning to upgrade its internal HPC capabilities soon, according to Zach McDaniel, manager of pressurized water reactor core methods at Westinghouse. "Initial applications of CASL tools to industry challenges, including test deployments of VERA on Westinghouse systems, have clearly demonstrated the benefits of HPC for the nuclear industry," McDaniel said. Through partnerships with a dozen active nuclear power plants, CASL is continuing to develop VERA to better serve industry by investigating challenges such as how to mitigate boron deposits on the outside of fuel rods and how to predict fuel rod failures. Addressing these issues could extend the life of power plants and lower the cost of operation. The CASL team is also simulating new reactor designs, such as NuScale's integral pressurized water reactor, a small modular reactor, and Westinghouse's AP1000, which is set to come online in China in 2017 and the US in 2019. "We're starting to build a case for industry to take the next step in HPC," Godfrey said. "With our modeling and simulation tools, we are hoping to show industry partners they can solve problems that no one has been able to solve before and make nuclear power a more competitive source of commercial energy." Oak Ridge National Laboratory is supported by the US Department of Energy's Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.
News Article | April 22, 2017
The federal government is currently being funded by a continuing resolution that expires on April 28, 2017 – which also happens to be the 99th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. If Congress fails to approve a new spending deal before then, Trump’s 100th day as president will begin with a federal government shutdown. The last government shutdown took place under President Obama and lasted for more than two weeks in 2013. Hundreds of thousands of federal government employees were furloughed. The Smithsonian museums and National Park Service sites were closed, including the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the Washington monuments and memorials. With current fights in Congress over spending on the military, the border wall and sanctuary cities, it’s certainly possible that no new continuing resolution will be passed in time. That would make Trump’s 100th day in office an unusual anniversary, but the truth is not all recent presidents have much to brag about when it comes to the impact of their first months in office. The idea of using a president’s first 100 days in office as a way to evaluate him began in 1933 with Franklin D. Roosevelt – although FDR actually had in mind measuring the New Deal achievements of the first 100 days of a special congressional session that year. In a July 24 Fireside Chat, FDR referred to “the crowding events of the 100 days which had been devoted to the starting of the wheels of the New Deal.” Journalists, historians and political scientists continued the practice of looking for accomplishments in the early months of a presidency. During those 100 days, FDR got many major bills through Congress to battle the economic crisis of the Great Depression. These bills created the Public Works Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps to provide job opportunities, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to insure bank deposits and the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide rural electricity. This flurry of activity became the standard by which future presidents would be judged – often coming up short. In a 2001 study, political scientists John Frendreis, Raymond Tatalovich and Jon Schaff determined that the presidents who followed FDR have not come close to his success levels in seeing proposed bills pass into law so early in their administrations. The authors attributed that to changes in Congress that have slowed down the lawmaking process. Let’s consider how the presidents have done. Following FDR’s death, Harry Truman’s first 100 days were focused on the closing battles of World War II, with Germany’s surrender occurring less than one month after Truman took office. Dwight Eisenhower’s first 100 days were similarly dominated by foreign policy, including the death of Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin and negotiations to end the Korean War. John Kennedy entered office with an ambitious agenda, which included the creation of the Peace Corps, but his first 100 days are probably best remembered for the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. Lyndon Johnson’s first 100 days were most consumed by coping with the aftermath of Kennedy’s assassination, but LBJ also used the period and Kennedy’s legacy to begin the groundwork to pass major civil rights and war on poverty legislation. While Richard Nixon also promoted an ambitious domestic agenda in the White House, his first 100 days contained no major visible achievements at the time. Nixon told reporters: “I don’t count either the days or the hours, really. I never thought in those terms. I plan for a long term.” Later, it was revealed that he had ordered a secret bombing of Cambodia during the period. Gerald Ford’s first 100 days are best remembered for his swearing-in ceremony following Nixon’s resignation, when he announced that “our long national nightmare is over.” He then pardoned Nixon one month later for any crimes the former president had committed in office. Jimmy Carter also had an inauspicious start. Possibly due to his inexperience in Washington, he asked Congress to pursue several different domestic policy goals, many of which never passed into law. Perhaps best remembered from Carter’s early months is his speech from the White House to declare that energy policy and efforts to end American dependence on oil were the “moral equivalent of war.” Ronald Reagan’s administration drew the lesson from his immediate predecessor that it was best to focus on one or two domestic issues during the first 100 days. Reagan spent his first months as president promoting an agenda of tax and spending cuts, though those did not pass into law until August 1981, four months later. Reagan’s first 100 days as president were also notable for the assassination attempt made against him, which limited his political efforts for part of the time period. George H.W. Bush’s first 100 days as president were largely a continuation of the policies of the Reagan presidency. They were noted at the time for being relatively uneventful, with a congressional battle over a secretary of defense nominee and the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska dominating the political news. The biggest political news story during Bill Clinton’s first 100 days was probably the failure of his stimulus package of domestic spending increases to get past a Republican filibuster in the Senate, though the eventual budget that resulted helped steer the United States toward budget surpluses later in the decade. Clinton’s first month also included his signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act into law, the start of a debate about service of gays in the military and the creation of a task force on national health care reform, chaired by Hillary Clinton. George W. Bush took office in January 2001 after a disputed electoral outcome in Florida led to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision that essentially made him president. In a politically divided country, Bush’s strategy seemed to be to avoid controversy and build his political capital, with his major legislative proposals in the time period involving tax cuts and education reform. Due to the economic crisis that began during Bush’s final months as president, Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office were dominated by the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a package of economic stimulus investments that by some measures was even larger than those passed in FDR’s 100 days in 1933. During a CBS “60 Minutes” interview in November 2008, Obama even said he was reading about FDR’s 100 days as an example. Which brings us back to Donald Trump. Trump’s main political success so far has been the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. His promised repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act failed to get support in Congress. His attempted travel entry bans of citizens of certain Islamic countries into the U.S. and attempted suspension of refugee entry have so far led to massive protests and have been blocked by federal judges. The Trump administration has also taken military action in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan, approved the construction of oil pipelines through North Dakota and sent out a request for contract bids to build a border wall with Mexico. It’s not clear yet which of these events will be well-remembered a year – or 10 – from now. One thing is sure. If the Liberty Bell or the Lincoln Memorial is closed to tourists on Trump’s 100th day as president, it’s likely that government malfunction will be what is remembered about Trump’s first few months in office. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. The Travel Costs Of Trump’s First 100 Days
News Article | May 27, 2017
The amount of heat-trapping pollution that’s released every time Bill Williams drives his electric sedan a mile down a road here has fallen by about a quarter in the three years since he bought it. Williams’ car hasn’t changed, but the electricity that powers it has. In Tennessee, power once generated overwhelmingly by coal has given way to more nuclear and natural gas power. With the rising number of plug-in models available in the U.S., many at increasingly affordable prices, and with electricity getting greener, the climate benefits of electric cars are growing. Polls show that Tennesseans are among the least worried nationwide about global warming, yet they support one of America’s healthiest electric car markets. One out of every 400 new cars sold in the state in 2016 could be plugged in, Auto Alliance figures show, ranking Tennessee 11th nationwide. Electric car owners here tend to give other reasons for their purchases and view climate benefits as nice extras. “The car of the future,” said Williams, a retired federal nuclear worker, beaming as he drove his Tesla Model S after punching the gas to show off its acceleration. “When I went and test drove it and saw it personally, I mean, I just liked everything about it.” Analysis by Climate Central shows that at least one variety of 2017 all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric car will have a smaller impact on the climate after 100,000 miles of driving than any of its gas-fueled competitors in 37 states, including Tennessee. That’s up from 16 states in 2013, as power grids have become greener. In California, the nation’s leading market for electric cars, where aggressive renewables policies have boosted the environmental benefits of the vehicles, one out of every 50 cars sold last year was a plug-in. In Alabama, which shares its northern border with Tennessee, it was one out of every 1,000. Electric cars are only as clean as the electricity they’re charged with. Solar, wind, and nuclear power are the most climate-friendly sources of electricity, while coal is the worst. Gasoline-fueled cars are powered by oil, which is a major source of heat-trapping pollution. Climate Central’s analysis also considered the pollution released when cars are manufactured. Because producing the battery and the rest of Williams’ Tesla released such an intense burst of greenhouse gas pollution, and because the retiree only drives 10,000 to 20,000 miles a year, it may be better for the climate if he’d held onto his 2007 Toyota Avalon, which is a relatively efficient gas-fueled sedan. In terms of climate impacts, sometimes “it’s best to just keep driving whatever car you’re driving” — even if it burns gas, so long as it’s an efficient model, said Greta Shum, a Climate Central researcher who led the analysis. “Electric vehicles have this really high emissions rate just before they get on the road.” Lowering greenhouse gas pollution from electricity generation can offset those heavy manufacturing impacts. About a quarter of the electricity being sold by the Tennessee Valley Authority this year is coming from coal, down from nearly 60 percent in 2007. The authority in the fall began operating the first new nuclear power station in America in two decades, and it has been building natural gas power plants and building and buying power from solar and wind farms. Its staff have been investigating the potential impacts of electric vehicle charging on the grid as the sector grows. “What impacts there are can be managed,” said Drew Frye, a power utility engineer. The Tennessee Valley Authority may be reducing its use of coal, but all of its power isn’t environmentally friendly. Natural gas is a fossil fuel that releases heat-trapping pollution, while nuclear power creates generations-long radioactive waste problems, and hydroelectricity also releases greenhouse gases. Just 3 percent of the authority’s power this year is coming from wind and solar power. Still, the energy mix is environmentally friendly enough to mean that the three most climate-friendly cars to operate over 100,000 miles in Tennessee are all-electric vehicles — models made by BMW, Mitsubishi, and Fiat. In 13 other states, including Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, and North Dakota, heavy coal use means it’s still better for the climate to operate an efficient gas-powered model. As their climate impacts have gone down, ownership of electric cars in Tennessee has gone up, bolstered by operations at a Nissan factory in Smyrna, a state subsidy program (which has run out of money), and efforts by local and state governments to roll out networks and corridors of public charging stations. Charging stations dot major cities and line freeways between here and Nashville, helping motorists venture further from home without fear of being stranded. Some chargers were installed by local governments. Others are in the parking lots of fast food restaurants near off-ramps trying to woo customers. “I think our role here is helping to make it possible for that whole industry to grow, and to encourage people to be those early adopters,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, whose staff oversees 25 public charging stations in nine locations, often at parking garages. Some 400 customers use the stations, charging their cars for an average of 90 minutes at a time. “We wanted to set an example and make them available.” In a conservative city in a conservative state (60 percent of voters here in Knox County voted for President Trump, similar to Tennessee voters overall), Rogero was elected to her first term in 2011 after running a campaign that emphasized environmental policies. Opposition to environmental values in Knoxville has eased since 10 to 15 years ago, Rogero said, when opponents of urban planning turned out to rail at public meetings against what they saw as a United Nations conspiracy involving a sustainable development action plan called Agenda 21. Electric car owners in Knoxville tend to point to concerns about issues other than the climate in explaining why they have embraced the technology — typically local air pollution and the effects of crude oil imports from the Middle East. The role of pollution in raising temperatures and worsening droughts, storms, and floods is a scientific fact, but discussing “climate change” is considered political and divisive in many places. Electric cars, which help protect the climate, carry little such political baggage in Tennessee. “I think it’s just common sense to a lot of people here that gas prices won’t always be low; that driving vehicles that run on American fuels is important to our security, to our safety, to our air quality,” said Melissa Goldberg, project manager at the nonprofit East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition. “Alternative fuels and clean transportation are a transcendent bipartisan issue.” Leslie Grossman converted a jeep to run on electricity in 2009 and has become a prominent advocate for electric vehicles in Knoxville. While the stockbroker acknowledges that climate change is a problem, she identifies strongly as conservative and bristles at the notion that climate concerns might motivate her. “The reason I did it was to eliminate the imbalance in our trade and get us off fossil fuels, because they’re nasty,” Grossman said. “I chose a jeep for my conversion, because I was so tired of hearing narrow-minded people saying, ‘Electric is for wusses,’ or ‘Electric is for sissies.’” Nissan is producing Leafs at a factory three hours west of Knoxville, helping to establish electric cars as a driving force in the state’s economy. Leafs comprise slightly more than half of the roughly 200 registered electric vehicles in Knox County — far greater than the car’s market share nationally, the Auto Alliance’s data shows. Automotive students at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology learn to repair and maintain electric, hybrid, and internal combustion vehicles. When the students take lessons in electric vehicles, they’re learning about products that are getting cheaper as battery and other manufacturing technology improves. Although they’re still more expensive than traditional alternatives — putting them out of reach of many car buyers on smaller budgets — they can be charged for a fraction of the cost of a tank of gas. “It depends on what you’re comparing them with,” said Williams, the owner of the Tesla Model S, which starts at $68,000 for a 2017 model. “If you’re going to get an expensive car anyway, then why not?” While electric cars might become financially competitive over a vehicle’s lifetime with gas-fueled alternatives by next year in Europe, where gasoline is more expensive than in the U.S., UBS Financial Services projected it could take eight more years to reach similar price parity in America. Federal and some state subsidies are helping the electric vehicles compete in the meantime. “The incentive is designed to help consumers and companies in this new marketplace, and the idea, of course, is that over time, that subsidy, which would run out, would not be necessary,” said Alan Baum, an automotive market analyst. “We’re not there yet.” The future of incentive programs may be in peril, however. Subsidies for electric vehicles purchases have been running out of cash in some states, including Tennessee, and targeted for repeal in others. California drafted clean car standards that are more stringent than federal rules, mandating plug-in vehicle sales, which it and some other states enforce with the help of a federal waiver — a waiver that may be jeopardized under the Trump administration. Federal subsidies could run out for some manufacturers next year, though Congress is considering extending them. Oscar Smith, an Audi seller in Knoxville whose some 300 sales last year included three e-tron plug-ins, said subsidies are key for making electric cars more appealing. He also said they come with a “cool factor” that can help with sales. “I see it as the next evolution in automobiles,” said Richard Thigpen, a doctor in Knoxville who has leased a BMW i3 since 2014. Caring for the environment “wasn’t my primary motivation” in going electric, he said, but he wanted a car that could be fueled with American energy. Most of the coal and gas burned in the U.S. is mined or drilled domestically. “I really like the cool factor,” Thigpen said. “I’m an early adopter — I like what’s new, and it’s just fun to drive.”
News Article | May 24, 2017
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Memorial Day Weekend is heralded the nation over as the unofficial start to summer. Schools have dismissed for the academic year, or soon will. The weather has warmed, and outdoor recreation will soon peak. So, it's timely that a new, detailed study conducted by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has quantified the economic value of outdoor recreation, at least along the Tennessee Valley Authority's managed river system. The study, which was performed by a team of scientists from the UTIA departments of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries and Agricultural and Resource Economics, determined that the combination of aquatic recreation and waterfront property along the Tennessee Valley Authority's managed river system creates $11.9 billion of annual economic impact to the region -- the equivalent of $1 million per shoreline mile. In addition, the TVA-supported study found that TVA's 49 reservoirs support about 130,000 jobs annually. To reach these conclusions, UTIA researchers conducted in-depth surveys of visitors and property owners along three of TVA's 49 reservoirs -- Norris, Watts Bar and Chickamauga -- during Summer 2016. Those reservoirs were chosen to represent urban, rural and tributary reservoir classifications. From that cross-section, the survey data was then extrapolated to cover the entire river system. Scientists involved included Neelam Poudyal, an assistant professor of natural resource policy, and Burton English, Kim Jensen and Jamey Menard, all members of the UTIA Agri-Industry Modeling & Analysis Group (AIM-AG). AIM-AG is well known for performing economic impact evaluations for industries and government entities. Several UT graduate and undergraduate students also participated by conducting a mail survey of shoreline property owners as well as on-site surveys of reservoir visitors at public access points, including fishing piers, swimming areas, boat launches and commercial marinas. Responses from more than 1,100 recreational users were included in the study. "Since its beginnings 84 years ago, TVA's mission has been to improve the lives of those in the Valley, and our integrated river management system is one of the cornerstones of our efforts," said Mike Skaggs, TVA Executive Vice President of Operations. Skaggs, other TVA officials, and representatives from UTIA unveiled the study results earlier this month as the agency kicked off a series of visits with civic officials and media from communities along the river system. "The UTIA study clearly establishes a strong link between the recreational opportunities our reservoirs create and improving the economic opportunities for the nine million people we serve every day," Skaggs added. First developed to provide flood control, navigation and hydroelectric power, TVA's integrated development plan for the Tennessee River and its tributaries also provides boating, swimming, and fishing enthusiasts their choice of unique destinations across all seven states in its service area. Poudyal, who specializes in the study of the human dimensions of natural resource policy, notes that TVA reservoirs provide tremendous outdoor opportunities to local and non-local visitors and visitors find their overall experiences highly satisfying. "Considering all the amenities that TVA reservoirs offer, the level of satisfaction among recreational users was relatively high - 75 percent," he said. Based on expenditures, the UTIA economists agreed. English remarked, "The study found that recreational visitors to the TVA reservoir system generate an average annual economic impact of $11.9 billion as well as more than 130,000 local jobs, $4.45 billion in labor income and $916 million in state and local taxes." English further remarked that the study did not take every economic impact into consideration. For example, the UTIA study did not consider the additional economic impacts created by non-aquatic based recreation (camping, hunting and hiking), and it did not address the additional economic benefits created by TVA's core missions of flood control or river transportation. The positive contributions of recreation along the river system are in addition to TVA's more formal economic development activities and partnerships, which contributed to more than $8 billion of capital investment and the creation or retention of more than 72,000 jobs in the Tennessee Valley last year alone. The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation. Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.
News Article | May 25, 2017
On May 19, Pathbuilders initiated the 29th class of the flagship mentoring program – Achieva. With a focus on contributing at a higher level in their organizations, 87 high-performing women representing 49 companies gathered to learn how to participate in a professional mentoring program and meet other program participants as well as meet their mentor. This kick-off marked the beginning of each mentee and mentor’s commitment to the year-long mentoring and leadership development program. “Each year, we are fortunate to bring together high-potential women from organizations focused on moving women forward with senior executive mentors who are uniquely paired to them,” states Helene Lollis, president and chief executive officer of Pathbuilders. “All with the goal of adding years of experience into the mentee’s hours and positioning her to contribute to her organization at a higher level.” Pathbuilders interviews and matches each mentee with an executive-level mentor who is best suited to help her grow professionally. Having personally engaged with each participant, Pathbuilders is then able to customize the year-long workshop curriculum to meet each woman’s core developmental needs as well as create relevant peer groups for each participant. For over 20 years, Pathbuilders has been focused on mentoring in the Atlanta business community. While continuous improvements are made throughout the year, Achieva remains true to the core experience for each mentee: one-on-one mentoring with a senior executive mentor, monthly educational workshops, and peer networking events. “I am excited to participate as a mentee in this year’s Achieva class, and look forward to taking my career and contribution to Cox Automotive to the next level,” states Judy Bowers, director at Cox Automotive. “Knowing I was matched with a senior executive mentor unique to me who will allocate time and energy to me monthly along with a rich curriculum of monthly educational workshops and a peer group rounds out a very full and exciting year.” Achieva is one of Pathbuilders’ four cross-company programs designed to develop high-performing women who aim to build an executive presence and high-impact leadership within their organizations. The Pathbuilders’ series of progressive professional development programs include: InsigniaSM: Entry-level women establishing credibility, developing self-awareness, learning to set priorities, and gaining insight into how the business works. Percepta®: Emerging leaders learning to think broadly, manage others, and make conscious choices—driving their careers and achieving exceptional business results. Pathbuilders is currently in open enrollment for this program. Achieva®: Mid-level managers with the potential to be senior leaders learning to navigate politics, building executive presence, and moving the company’s most critical initiatives forward. Inspiria®: Senior executives positioning themselves to have maximum impact—envisioning and creating cultures where others seek and achieve extraordinary success. “I have had the pleasure to work with Pathbuilders for the last eight years as a mentor. Their ability to bring together high potential female executives with perfectly matched mentors is nothing short of amazing. Pathbuilders provides the foundational learning needed by both mentee and mentors to create sustainable change and meaningful growth. The value they bring to each mentee as well as their sponsoring companies is invaluable. For those organizations that want to provide lasting growth for their female executives, I could not recommend a better investment in time and energy than Pathbuilders,” states Peter Scalera, vice president of trade marketing and execution for InComm. Participants in the 2017 Achieva program are from the following organizations: 22squared, Inc. ADP Alston & Bird LLP Arnall Golden Gregory LLP Chick-fil-A, Inc. Cisco Systems, Inc. CNA Insurance Company Coca-Cola Refreshments Colonial Pipeline Company Comcast Corporation Consulate General of Canada Cotiviti Healthcare Cox Communications, Inc. Cox Enterprises Cox Media Group Decisely Equifax, Inc. Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Gas South, LLC Genuine Parts Company Global Payments, Inc. Graphic Packaging International Holder Construction Company IHG Imerys Junior Achievement of Georgia Kaiser Permanente Landis+Gyr Manhattan Associates McKesson Corporation Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC Patrick Law Group, LLC Porter Keadle Moore, LLP PowerPlan, Inc. Printpack, Inc. Purchasing Power, LLC RaceTrac Petroleum, Inc. Scientific Games Slalom, LLC Solvay SunTrust Banks, Inc. Tennessee Valley Authority Turner United Parcel Service, Inc. Valley Forge Fabrics, Inc. Veritiv Corporation WestRock Worldpay About Pathbuilders Inc. For over 20 years, Pathbuilders has been transforming top talent into high-impact leaders who move business forward. Through customized programming, Pathbuilders leverages a model that effectively combines mentoring, educational workshops, and interactive peer exchange to accelerate the career growth of individuals and directly contribute to the bottom-line success of client organizations. Pathbuilders has worked with nearly 4000 professionals from more than 500 client organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, colleges and universities, and government agencies. More information can be found at http://www.Pathbuilders.com, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter @Pathbuilders.
Tennessee Valley Authority | Date: 2012-11-09
A method and an automation system for processing information extractable from an engineering drawing file. The automation system includes a controller which models in the engineering drawing file (20) at least two objects (302, 304) in a predefined format by adding at least two entities (34) to the engineering drawing file (20) (S501) and by adding support information (35) to the engineering drawing file (20) (S502) to provide the extractable information (S401), provides a program sequence (80) in an automation application (50) to establish a correlation of the extractable information (S402), correlates the extractable information by executing the program sequence (80) (S403), and generates output data (12, 15) based on the established correlation of the extractable information (S404). The correlation of the extractable information is established only while the program sequence (80) of the automation application (50) is being executed.
Tennessee Valley Authority | Date: 2013-08-30
A solar photovoltaic panel system which has a thermal sink and a panel mounting structure is provided. The panel mounting structure contains a water flow section. The water flow section includes an inflow section and an outflow section. A solar photovoltaic panel is mounted between the inflow section and the outflow section. A water supply system is connected to the panel mounting structure to provide water on a top surface of the solar photovoltaic panel. The water provided from the thermal sink is returned to the thermal sink after flowing on the top surface of the solar photovoltaic panel.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Contract Interagency Agreement | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 17.85K | Year: 2014