Tennessee Clean Energy Triumph $7 Billion Secured:
Tennessee is making some big waves in the clean tech world, with a massive surge in clean technology manufacturing that’s changing the game. Get this: they’re investing three times more money in electric vehicles, energy storage, and solar panel materials than in any other area last year.
Since last August, Tennessee has raked in a whopping $7 billion from 14 different projects. That’s a whole lot of cash, and it’s all based on what WPLN found out by digging into public announcements.
These projects are a massive 80% of all the investments in the past year. Yep, you heard right. They’re using this thing called “Transparent Tennessee” to keep tabs on all the business stuff. That means companies promised to drop about $9.1 billion on different things between August 1, 2022, and August 28, 2023. But here’s the catch: not everything might be on this database.
But wait, there’s more! Companies are also shouting about creating over 5,600 new jobs. That’s like a third of all the big job news in Tennessee this past year.
So, what’s the deal with all this? Well, it all links back to the Inflation Reduction Act, a law that’s all about clean stuff that doesn’t make the planet hotter. This law started strutting its stuff on August 16, 2022.
But not everyone’s clapping. The folks on the right aren’t fans. Last year, every Republican in Congress gave it a thumbs-down.
Surprise, surprise! The areas getting the biggest slice of this clean tech pie are all wearing the Republican badge. In the first year, around 80% of the cash for clean energy and batteries is heading to places run by Republicans, according to advocacy group Climate Power.
And guess what? There’s a project that’s hanging out with the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law gang. In October, Novonix came out and said they got a cool $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. What’s it for? Making synthetic graphite anode materials for electric vehicles and big energy storage systems. They’re cooking it up in Chattanooga.
But why is this happening? Well, some states are waving their hands like crazy to welcome these factories. Tennessee was already on the clean energy train before the climate law even came along. Like, in 2021, Ford threw down $5.6 billion to make a place called Blue Oval City for batteries and vehicles near Memphis. Since 2019, these companies have tossed in almost $15 billion and given jobs to about 11,000 people, all because of electric vehicles related projects. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development spilled these beans.
Governor Bill Lee chimed in, saying, “Tennessee is leading the future of American automotive manufacturing, thanks to our thriving business climate, record economic growth and highly skilled workforce. We welcome Magna as the first supplier for Ford’s BlueOval City and appreciate this company’s $790 million investment in Tennessee, which will bring 1,300 jobs and new opportunities for families to thrive.” He was talking about $790 million from Magna for Blue Oval City.
“These opportunities not only strengthen our relationship with a valued customer, but also reflect the depth and breadth of our capabilities across the vehicle. We are thankful to the state of Tennessee for their support and partnership.” – Eric Wilds, chief sales and marketing officer, Magna
Most of the new factories popping up this past year are chilling in Middle Tennessee. Magna’s big cash splash will hit two spots.
All this shows that Tennessee’s clean energy game is strong. Big investments and new jobs are like a spotlight on how much the state is rocking the clean energy scene. It’s like a preview of what happens when you mix innovation with opportunity.