On February 3, 2021, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) Office of Energy Programs and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced a partnership to develop a statewide network of electric vehicle fast chargers. The partnership will install electric vehicle fast charging stations every 50 miles along major interstates and highways. Overall, 50 new stations will be built, tripling the number of fast charging stations in Tennessee.
“This investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure is a monumental step forward, and I’m proud that Tennessee is leading in this important effort,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said. “With TVA’s partnership, we will be able to continue our work to protect our environment and improve our transportation infrastructure.”
TVA has stated that this investment will lead to job growth and local economic investments throughout the state, reduce the region’s number one source of carbon emissions, and reduce fueling costs for drivers and fleet owners. $20 million is expected to be invested through this program. TDEC has committed 15%, the maximum allowable, of the State’s Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust allocation to fund light-duty electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Approximately $5 million from this fund is expected to be allocated to fast charging infrastructure along corridors. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) intends to provide TDEC with an additional $7 million in federal Highway Infrastructure Program (HIP) funds to expand fast-charging electric vehicle infrastructure along federally-designated Alternative Fuel Corridors in Tennessee. The remainder of the project will be funded by TVA, other program partners, and program participant cost share.
This announcement demonstrates how the State Energy Office in Tennessee is utilizing its DOE SEP Annual Formula funding to leverage other funding sources; though the infrastructure will be funded by non-SEP sources, SEP Annual Formula funds were used to support the efforts of the State Energy Office to establish this partnership and will continue to support related project implementation efforts moving forward.
This investment builds on previous work from TDEC, including the Drive Electric Tennessee Roadmap for Electric Vehicles, released in 2019. For more information on TDEC’s work to support the transportation sector, click here.