NASHVILLE, TN - Officials in Tennessee announced a series of State energy efficiency projects, including the purchase of Nissan LEAFs, as well as the new Clean Tennessee Energy Grant Program. The state projects, as well projects for other public and private entities that will be funded through the grant program, are designed to both increase cost savings and decrease emissions.

The Clean Tennessee Energy Grant Program selects and funds projects that best result in a reduction of the emissions and pollutants. The program provides financial assistance to government agencies (state and local), utility districts, and private businesses/organizations in Tennessee to purchase, install, and construct energy projects that include those for improving fuel efficiency and minimizing idling. Applications are accepted until March 30, 2012.

Funding for the projects comes from an April 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Under the Consent Decree, Tennessee will receive $26.4 million over five years to fund clean air programs in the State - at approximately $5.25 million per year.  In the first year, $2.25 million will go to fund air quality grants for local governments, municipalities, utilities, other organizations, and private entities. The remaining $3 million will fund energy efficiency projects in State government. The first round of state projects includes the purchase of five Nissan LEAF electric vehicles for the state fleet and two charging stations. 

The cars have zero emissions and are made in Tennessee. Replacing five motor pool vehicles with the electric LEAFs for urban travel will substantially reduce the emissions that can cause adverse health conditions due to air quality non-attainment. Replacing a conventional vehicle with an electric vehicle in a metro area reduces volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide by 100 percent, sulfur oxides by 75 percent, nitrogen oxides by 69 percent and particulates by 31 percent, according to a release from the State.

More information on the grant program can be found here.