Tennessee secured $7 billion in clean energy business this past year — representing nearly 80% of new investments
Clean technology manufacturing is exploding in Tennessee.
Planned investments in the construction of electric vehicle, energy storage and solar panel materials were worth three times more than any other sector combined in the past year.
Since last August, Tennessee secured $7 billion through 14 projects, according to WPLN’s analysis of public announcements.
The projects represent nearly 80% of all capital investments in the past year, based on the state’s “Transparent Tennessee” business tracker. Companies committed to about $9.1 billion of capital investments, the tracker shows, between Aug. 1, 2022, and Aug. 28, 2023 — though the state database may not include all public announcements.
Companies also promised the creation of more than 5,600 jobs, which is more than a third of all jobs announced through major investments in Tennessee this past year.
Republican districts capturing majority of clean tech investments
The manufacturing surge is linked to the Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s first major climate law that provides incentives for companies making clean technologies that cut greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. The legislation went into effect on Aug. 16, 2022.
The law has been bashed by conservative politicians and groups. Last year, every Republican in Congress voted against it.
“Democrats made defining choices that showed the American people their radicalism has no bounds, choosing green energy fantasies and big government over the needs of American families, workers, and businesses,” Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., said at the time.
Republican territories are seeing the most economic development from the law. In its first year, about 80% of clean energy and battery manufacturing investments nationwide have flowed to Republican-held districts and states, according to an analysis by advocacy group Climate Power.
In Tennessee, at least one of the new projects is also directly tied to the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In October, Novonix announced that it received a $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to manufacture synthetic graphite anode materials for electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage systems at its plant in Chattanooga.
The percentage may also be explained by the willingness of some states to welcome manufacturing plants. Tennessee was attracting big investments in electric vehicles before the climate bill, such as the $5.6 billion investment in 2021 for Ford’s Blue Oval City, a megasite for battery and vehicle manufacturing near Memphis. Since 2019, companies have invested nearly $15 billion and created about 11,000 new jobs through EV-related projects, according to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
“Tennessee is leading the future of American automotive manufacturing, thanks to our thriving business climate, record economic growth and highly skilled workforce,” Gov. Bill Lee saidlast month about a nearly $800 million investment in Blue Oval City by automotive company Magna.
Most of the new or expanded manufacturing plants announced this past year will be located in Middle Tennessee. The investment by Magna will be split between two locations.
Sources for all project announcements can be found here.
Tennessee’s clean energy manufacturing projects announced in the Inflation Reduction Act’s first year
Piedmont Lithium. $600 million. 120 jobs. Electric vehicles and energy storage. Etowah.
Novonix. $1 billion. 1,000 jobs. Electric vehicles and energy storage. Chattanooga.
Hanon Systems. $170 million. 600 jobs. Electric vehicles. Loudon.
Mersen. $25-$30 million. 50 jobs. Solar. Columbia.
TerrePower. Solar. Sparta.
Microvast. $300 million. 700 jobs. Electric vehicles. Clarksville.
LG Chem. $3.2 billion. 850 jobs. Electric vehicles. Clarksville.
Daejin Materials USA. $10 million. 83 jobs. Electric vehicles. Cumberland City.
Ultium Cells. $275 million. 400 jobs. Electric vehicles. Spring Hill.
Nissan. $250 million. Electric vehicles. Decherd.
Magna. $790 million. 1,300 jobs. Electric vehicles. Lawrenceburg.
6K Energy. $250 million. 230 jobs. Electric vehicles and energy storage. Jackson.
MSS Steel. $6 million. 129 jobs. Solar. Memphis.
Enchem. $150 million. 190 jobs. Electric vehicles. Brownsville.
Magna. $790 million. 1,300 jobs. Electric vehicles. Stanton.