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01 July 2024 · 3 min. read

EPB receives national energy innovator award

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (July 1, 2024) – The American Public Power Association (APPA) recognized EPB’s Power to Protect microgrid with an Energy Innovator Award during its National Conference earlier this month.

“The Energy Innovator Award recognizes utilities that develop creative techniques and technologies to improve the efficient delivery of energy services in their communities through the implementation of new projects and programs,” said Paul Zummo, Director, Research & Development, APPA. “Sharing the achievements of members like EPB can inspire innovation and create a positive impact that benefits customers throughout the country who depend on public power utilities.”

Following the Easter 2020 tornadoes, 62,000 homes were left without power and EPB’s electric grid suffered nearly $40 million in damage. To improve resilience during future storms, EPB and the City of Chattanooga created the Power to Protect microgrid, which included the purchase and installation of a 500 kW/1000 kWh battery system, a 200-kW diesel generator, and 155 kW of solar panels at its Police Department administrative headquarters. The battery, charged by the solar array, can support the full load of the site during an outage, ensuring continued operation of the emergency services building. Throughout the year, energy generated by the solar installation helps to offset the cost of electricity for the Police Department while the 1,000-kilowatt-hour battery also helps reduce EPB’s monthly peak electricity demand.

“Power to Protect serves two important purposes. First, it preserves critical resources in an emergency by making electric services more resilient for our city’s emergency response capabilities. Second, it reduces the peak cost EPB must pay for energy, which helps us keep rates lower for customers over time,” said EPB CEO David Wade. “We continue to focus our efforts on growing EPB’s Local Energy Mix to make our grid even more dependable and increase the power resources based in own community.”

Because utilizing energy storage reduces peak demand charges, EPB's investment will pay for itself within 6-7 years and will continue to provide value well beyond the cost of purchasing and installing the equipment.

The Energy Innovator Program recognizes members of APPA’s research program, Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED), which nurtures innovation in public power. In addition to EPB, recipients included CDE Lightband in Clarksville, Tennessee, and New York Power Authority in White Plains, New York.

About EPB

EPB is a customer-focused technology company that delivers innovative power and telecommunications solutions to the Chattanooga area in pursuit of its mission to enhance the quality of life for the community it serves. In 2010, EPB completed a 100% fiber optic network accessible to all its customers as the basis for launching America’s first community-wide Gig speed internet. The company still operates the world’s fastest community-wide internet service today at speeds up to 25 Gig. EPB also utilizes Chattanooga’s fiber optic network as the communications backbone for the most advanced and highly automated power distribution system in the United States. In 2022, EPB continued its commitment to keeping Chattanooga on the cutting edge by establishing our nation’s first commercially available quantum network — EPB Quantum Network℠ powered by Qubitekk. This effort aligns local job creation efforts with the national priority to accelerate the commercialization of quantum technology.

Since switching the lights on for its first electric customer in 1939, EPB has grown to serve nearly a half a million people across a 600-square-mile service area with cutting-edge infrastructure that integrates power distribution and telecommunications. At the same time, EPB keeps customer benefit at the center of all its efforts, earning recognition from J.D. Power as the #1 Mid-Sized Utility in the South for the last eight consecutive years based on customer satisfaction ratings. Learn more at

About the American Public Power Association

The American Public Power Association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. We represent public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve, and the 96,000 people they employ. Our association advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations. Our members strengthen their communities by providing superior service, engaging citizens, and instilling pride in community-owned power.


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