Dixie Gilreath enrolled at Cleveland State Community College so she can get a license to install solar panels.

Local demand for green products still is in low gear, she said, but she's optimistic.

"It's coming," she said. "But it's coming pretty slowly."

That's why she was one of a handful of people gathered Tuesday evening to celebrate the grand opening of the regional office of Repower Tennessee, a statewide group that lobbies for clean energy initiatives.

Part of the nationwide Repower America campaign, Repower Tennessee lobbies for green jobs, environmental protection, cleaner energy sources and an end of America's dependence on foreign oil, said Chris Song, spokesman for Repower Tennessee.

"We want to spread the message," he said. "Now is the time for comprehensive energy reform."

Through legislation, Repower wants to create millions of green jobs nationwide and tens of thousands in Tennessee.

Gene Kelly, Southeast Tennessee's field organizer for Repower, will man the organization's local office on McCallie Avenue at 1400 McCallie Ave., Suite 110. The group also has an office in Knoxville and headquarters in Nashville, officials said.

Mr. Song said the local office would be run similar to a campaign office for a political candidate.

"It's a place for information," he said. "But it's also a place where people can come to mobilize as a group rather than acting as sole individuals."

Organizers said the local group would be writing and calling elected officials as well as doing door-to-door canvassing to garner support. Mr. Song said the group is ensuring that politicians get the message by "hitting them from all angles."

"This is a very big fight," Mr. Kelly said. "This is something that people are concerned about in Chattanooga."


Repower Tennessee is part of the national campaign Repower America, designed to galvanize support for a new clean energy plan and new energy infrastructure that will:

* Jump-start the economy and create millions of new jobs

* Help end America's dependence on foreign oil

* Reward innovation and job creation

* Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change