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Greenville Business Magazine

SC Nexus Receives Federal Designation As Regional Technology, Innovation Hub For Advanced Energy

Oct 23, 2023 02:02PM ● By David Dykes

The Nexus for Advanced Resilient Energy (SC Nexus) received the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) designation as one of 31 Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs).

The South Carolina Department of Commerce (S.C. Commerce) submitted the application for designation on behalf of SC Nexus, a consortium of higher education institutions, technical colleges, numerous state agencies, the Savannah River National Laboratory, economic development alliances, community organizations, non-profits and private companies, including electric utilities.

The EDA received nearly 400 Tech Hub applications, and of the 31 designations located across 32 states and Puerto Rico, three of the Tech Hubs, including SC Nexus, are in the Atlanta Region. As an officially designated Tech Hub, SC Nexus will expand concerted efforts focusing on Advanced Energy Resiliency, the consortium’s selected technology focus.

Additionally, as a designated Tech Hub, SC Nexus will be eligible to apply for EDA’s Phase 2 funding – to leverage and accelerate existing efforts – available through the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which authorized $10 billion over five years for the Tech Hubs effort. Phase 2 will award implementation grants between $40-$70 million each, to at least five designated Tech Hubs, totaling approximately $500 million.

“Receiving the federal Tech Hubs designation signals to the world that South Carolina has the necessary assets and infrastructure to create a real impact in the advanced energy resiliency sector,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Collaboration has long been a key component to our success, and we’re confident SC Nexus’ concerted efforts will align our state as a leader in advanced energy technology development, contributing to our national security by bolstering energy independence.”

Collectively, SC Nexus’ efforts will focus the consortium’s Advanced Resilient Energy technological advancement efforts across a defined geography consisting 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.

Notably, this area covers more than 60 percent of the state’s distressed counties. Of the long-term jobs created by SC Nexus’ efforts, the consortium has the target for more than 40 percent of those jobs to be sourced from underserved and rural communities. While initial activity will be concentrated within SC Nexus’ defined geography, the long-term impacts will cascade across the region, state and the Southeastern U.S., benefiting rural and underserved communities, officials said.

Officials said 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.

Officials said achieving a Tech Hub designation further aligns SC Nexus with the state’s ongoing focus on energy resiliency and the development of advanced energy technology, underscored by 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, the officials said.

 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.

A public and private consortium, led by S.C. Commerce, SC Nexus consists of more than 35 members including seven core members. In addition to S.C. Commerce, the initial core members are:

  • Clemson University
  • Savannah River National Laboratory
  • South Carolina Council on Competitiveness
  • South Carolina State University
  • SC Technical College System
  • University of South Carolina.

The Phase 2 funding application window closes Feb. 29, 2024. SC Nexus will continue to conduct consortium meetings to pursue available funding and to fulfill the designation and beyond.