TVA to spend $7.3 million on energy training in schools

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd/ The Tennessee Valley Authority logo adorns offices in downtown Chattanooga on May 7, 2019.

A federal utility is spending $7.3 million to train personnel in 160 public schools across seven states on how to reduce energy use and save money.

The Tennessee Valley Authority says the School Uplift program spending will take place over the next three years and will be boosted by $600,000 in initial matching funds from Tennessee's Energy Efficient Schools Initiative (EESI).

TVA says 11 schools have completed a pilot program and have already saved almost 20% on annual energy bills just from behavioral changes.

"Every dollar invested in our schools helps districts allocate resources to where it matters most – educating our children – and we're excited to bring School Uplift to our schools," said Cindy Herron, vice president of TVA's EnergyRight program. "Helping schools save money on their energy costs and improve learning environments is an important investment in the Valley's future."

Eleven schools recently completed the School Uplift pilot, learning to save energy and competing to earn grants for building upgrades and solar pavilions. The first round of energy upgrade grants worth $400,000 each includes Bledsoe County High School in Pikeville and Van Buren High School in Spencer. Additionally, five schools have been awarded TVA-funded grants for solar pavilions, including Pikeville Elementary and Spencer Elementary.

"Tennessee has the best teachers in the nation, and we need our classrooms to match that standard to give students the best learning opportunity," said Scott Slusher, EESI deputy director. "Making our schools more energy efficient will pay dividends for years to come."

In 2008, the Tennessee General Assembly started EESI with $90 million. To date, over $102.5 million has been approved for projects that improve the energy efficiency in Tennessee's public K-12 schools – saving schools more than $43 million in energy costs. TVA is now looking for additional state agency partners for matching funds.

TVA EnergyRight will be recruiting schools interested in participating in the 2022-2023 program. Visit for more information.

- Compiled by Dave Flessner