South Carolina consortium pursues federal designation as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub for advanced energy
AUGUST 10, 2023
The effort seeks to strengthen the availability, resiliency, and security of advanced energy in SC and beyond
COLUMBIA, S.C. – On behalf of the Nexus for Advanced Resilient Energy (SC Nexus), the South Carolina Department of Commerce (S.C. Commerce) applied today for designation as one of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) 20 Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs). SC Nexus represents a broad consortium which includes institutions of higher education, technical colleges, numerous state agencies, the Savannah River National Laboratory, economic development alliances and private companies, including electric utilities.
If selected as one of the Tech Hubs, SC Nexus will be eligible to apply for funding made available through the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which authorized $10 billion over five years for the Tech Hubs effort.
SC Nexus’ selected technology focus is Advanced Resilient Energy. Its defined geography consists of the Midlands and Upstate regions encompassing the Metropolitan Statistical Areas of Greenville-Anderson, Spartanburg and Columbia, as well as surrounding counties such as Aiken and Orangeburg. (Please see the map below.) Additionally, this area covers more than 60 percent of the state’s distressed counties. While activity will be concentrated within this defined geography, the impacts will cascade across the region, state and the Southeastern U.S., benefiting rural and underserved communities.
SC Nexus’ work will target innovation and efforts geared toward enhancing energy generation, distribution and storage, which will result in the:
Development of deployable and exportable electricity technologies that accelerate manufacturing of energy components and materials, innovate new battery technologies, and efficiently integrate advanced electricity sources into the grid.
Acceleration of high-quality job growth for a diverse workforce, with multiple education and training pathways through South Carolina’s broad education ecosystem.
Closure of infrastructure gaps in rural and distressed communities.
Enhancement of South Carolina’s ability to play a key role advancing the country’s competitiveness in the development and integration of globally leading electric-power technologies.
Pursuing the Tech Hubs designation is in line with Governor Henry McMaster’s Executive Order 2023-18, designed to secure South Carolina’s energy future. Related efforts will complement and reinforce the work of powerSC, which the executive order established. Additionally, SC Nexus has garnered support from South Carolina’s entire federal legislative delegation, as well as key leaders from the South Carolina House and Senate.
“Securing sustained, long-term growth and opportunities for our citizens begins today. Doing so requires a collaborative approach and a commitment to advancing the capabilities of energy in our state,” said Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III. “SC Nexus provides the perfect combination of innovation, partnership and vision necessary to make South Carolina a national and global leader in advanced energy.”
A public and private consortium, led by S.C. Commerce, SC Nexus currently consists of more than 35 members including seven core members. In addition to S.C. Commerce, the initial, core members are:
Savannah River National Laboratory
South Carolina Council on Competitiveness
South Carolina State University
SC Technical College System
University of South Carolina
The Tech Hubs application window closes Aug. 15, 2023, and the EDA is expected to announce Tech Hub designations in the fall of this year. SC Nexus has conducted and will continue to conduct consortium meetings to prepare for a possible designation and beyond.
“The advancement of energy research and workforce development are growing global needs in which Clemson University has demonstrated a deep commitment to the state of South Carolina and beyond. As a core member of SC Nexus, we are thrilled to collaborate with partners across our state and combine our areas of expertise in an effort to elevate the lives of citizens of South Carolina and communities around the world.”
-Jim Clements, President, Clemson University
“We are proud to be a part of SC Nexus solving some of the most challenging problems in advanced energy to help secure a sustainable energy future.”
-Vahid Majidi, Laboratory Director, Savannah River National Laboratory
“SC Competes is excited to be part of SC Nexus, designed to build a sustainable energy ecosystem to position South Carolina as a global model for powering industry and society for generations to come. SC Nexus will fuel historic and innovative R&D investments and enhance targeted partnerships with academics and industry to boost national security and sharpen our state’s technology and manufacturing edge.”
-Susie Shannon, President and CEO, South Carolina Council on Competitiveness
“South Carolina State University’s nuclear engineering, mechatronics engineering and cybersecurity degree programs are prime examples of how our faculty and students fit into this essential endeavor. We are proud to contribute the experience and expertise on the SC State campus necessary to power the industry of tomorrow in South Carolina, and we are grateful for the opportunity SC Nexus has afforded this coalition.”
-Alexander Conyers, President, South Carolina State University
“As the state’s most extensive higher education system, the SC Technical College System plays a vital role in building the foundation of South Carolina’s workforce. We are committed to leveraging our strategically placed colleges and nationally renowned statewide programs to support SC Nexus. We aim to create a talent pipeline that is highly skilled and ready to contribute to a sector devoted to global, resilient, and sustainable energy and power innovation.”
-Tim Hardee, President, SC Technical College System
“We are proud to stand with S.C. Commerce and the incredible consortium we are building in support of SC Nexus. The proposed tech hub gives us a unique opportunity to establish South Carolina as a global leader in energy, create new jobs, build new technologies, recruit new industries and secure our energy future.”
-Michael Amiridis, President, University of South Carolina
FIVE FAST FACTS
On behalf of SC Nexus, S.C. Commerce applied for designation as one of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) 20 Regional Tech Hubs.
If designated as a Tech Hub, SC Nexus will be eligible to apply for substantial federal grant funding.
SC Nexus will target innovation and efforts geared toward enhancing energy generation, distribution and storage technologies.
Tech Hub designations will be announced this fall.
SC Nexus’ defined geography includes portions of the Upstate, the Midlands and surrounding counties. See below. The Distressed Communities Index is a federally established designation.
About S.C. Department of Commerce
As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. S.C. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. S.C. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State has consistently been among the top in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign direct investment on a per capita basis – recognized by multiple economic development publications for its pro-business climate. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.