Energy production and research is a strong industry sector in the east Tennessee region. These types of energy companies will find a profitable home here:
- Solar materials and applications
- Bioenergy producers
- Nuclear energy services
- Lightweight materials for the above
- Engineering services.
A number of factors create a favorable climate for these companies:
- The Volunteer State Solar Initiative is a comprehensive solar-energy and economic-development program that will advance job creation, education, research, and renewable-power production in Tennessee.
- This initiative includes the Tennessee Solar Institute, a collaboration of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory located at Cherokee Farm.
- Two new polysilicon plants, Dow Corning/Hemlock Semiconductor and Wacker Chemie, are being built in Tennessee and will supply solar equipment manufacturers.
- The University of Tennessee Biofuels Initiative and DuPont-Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC are building the state’s first demonstration-scale cellulosic ethanol biorefinery. The facility in Vonore, Tennessee, will use switchgrass and corn cobs as feedstock in the refinery.
- The Tennessee Valley Authority has a long history of providing support, technology, expertise, and financial resources to existing businesses and industries in the Valley to help them grow and be more efficient and profitable.
Bioenergy companies already in the area include the Joint Institute for Biological Sciences
, Denesco, and Glaxo SmithKline.