The South Carolina Research Authority has been selected to receive up to $1 million as a core member of a team that will explore ways to develop clean energy in the Carolinas.
The program, run by the National Science Foundation, is known as the Regional Innovation Engines or NSF Engines program, according to a news release.
SCRA will participate in an initiative called “Clean Carolinas” led by the University of North Carolina Charlotte. The initiative is intended to produce an ecosystem of technology acceleration, research and development and workforce development, while also targeting diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility to community priorities for energy economic development and well-paying jobs, according to the release.
“We are very excited to partner with UNC Charlotte and others to lead this effort for South Carolina, which will accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy that is quickly becoming a prominent energy source for the future,” said SCRA Executive Director Bob Quinn. “Our state has many resources to help get us there, including our academic and industry partners and entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Clean Carolinas is designed to make advancements in clean energy, including offshore wind, solar, clean hydrogen, marine energy, and the electric-energy delivery and storage systems that support their integration with a grid to meet the challenges of achieving a net-carbon-neutral electric grid by 2050 and sustaining it for much longer.
In addition, the initiative’s activities will form the groundwork for innovation leadership in the Carolinas and beyond by leveraging the expertise of UNC Charlotte, SCRA, and partner organizations in South Carolina, such as Clemson University.
By partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, UNC Charlotte, and others, SCRA will include community priorities from the region’s households and the diverse businesses across the two states. Education and skills training, in addition to research and innovation, will also be critical, as the initiative includes collaborators from partner institutions, including East Carolina University, North Carolina State University, Clemson University, North Carolina A&T State University, Fayetteville State University, Elizabeth City State University, and E4 Carolinas Consortium.
The awardees span a broad range of states and regions, reaching geographic areas that have yet to fully benefit from the technology boom of the past decades. These NSF Engines Development Awards will help organizations create connections and develop their local innovation ecosystems within two years to prepare strong proposals for becoming future NSF Engines, which will each have the opportunity to receive up to $160 million.