COLUMBIA — On behalf of the Nexus for Advanced Resilient Energy, the South Carolina Department of Commerce applied in August as one of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s 20 Regional Technology and Innovation 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.

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

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“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,” said Alexander Conyers, president of South Carolina State University.

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.

Additionally, this area covers more than 60% 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 Gov. 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,” Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III said.

“SC Nexus provides the perfect combination of innovation, partnership and vision necessary to make South Carolina a national and global leader in advanced energy.”

The Tech Hubs application window closed Aug. 15 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.

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