July 20, 2024

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SC Nexus receives federal designation as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub for advanced energy

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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 broad 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.

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Consortium one of 31 Tech Hubs chosen from nearly 400 applicants

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 broad 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. 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.

GOVERNOR HENRY MCMASTER

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. (Please see the map below.)

Graphic of SC Nexus map of state divided by districts and color-coded Graphic of SC Nexus map of state divided by districts and color-coded

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 S.C.

Nexus’ defined geography, the long-term 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.

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 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. 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
  • S.C. 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.

QUOTES

“Energy independence is a national priority and South Carolina is set to play an important role in making this happen. South Carolina’s Tech Hub designation is testament to the state’s higher education institutions, manufacturing industry, and public-private partnerships, all of which are essential to the development of our nation’s energy technologies, smart grids, and energy storage. I am thankful for the leadership of Governor Henry McMaster, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, my colleagues in the congressional delegation, and the Administration for this opportunity.”

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

“I’m pleased South Carolina has been selected for designation as a Regional Tech Hub by the Department of Commerce and EDA. This transformative opportunity, made possible by the Biden-Harris Administration’s CHIPS and Science Act, will solidify South Carolina’s position as a leader in technological innovation and help guide us towards a clean energy future.”

U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn

“I am grateful that the U.S. Department of Commerce recognized SC Nexus as a designee for one of the 31 Regional Tech Hubs. This further acknowledges the contributions of South Carolina as an innovative energy resource.”

U.S. Representative Joe Wilson

“I’m excited South Carolina’s expertise on nuclear and other energy technology is being rewarded with the classification of SC Nexus as a Tech Hub by the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs program. I’m honored to have helped facilitate continued energy technology development in South Carolina to increase the resiliency and reliability of America’s energy grid while also delivering jobs for South Carolinians.”

U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan

“SC Nexus’ designation as a Tech Hub by the Economic Development Administration is a huge win for our state. This designation will allow South Carolina to continue to lead the way in innovation and emerging technologies while creating jobs in the Greenville and Spartanburg areas and beyond. I was proud to support SC Nexus’ application and look forward to our state’s continued success.”

U.S. Representative William Timmons

“Now more than ever, it is crucial for South Carolina to lead the way towards American energy independence. SC Nexus presents an opportunity for South Carolina to become a trailblazer in innovative and sustainable energy solutions, creating jobs and economic growth in the process. We look forward to paving the path towards a stronger, more resilient future for our state and our nation.”

U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Mace

“South Carolina is on the cutting edge of technological advancements in energy generation, distribution and storage. This federal designation as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub will strengthen our workforce, enhance American energy security and advance our nation’s competitiveness in the development of electric-power technologies. Thank you to Governor McMaster and Secretary Lightsey for their efforts to secure this significant designation for our state.”

U.S. Congressman Russell Fry

“South Carolina’s world-class business community and research institutions, with the support of collaborative and visionary state leadership, have created the foundation for our state’s long-term energy success. Today’s recognition by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration as a federally designated Tech Hub will accelerate SC Nexus’ role as a fulcrum for global advanced energy progress. We’re proud of the role South Carolina has and will continue to play in global energy advancements, and we’re optimistic about the subsequent national security and local energy resiliency impacts for generations to come.”

Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“I am thrilled that the EDA has designated the state of South Carolina as a Regional Tech Hub. The SC Nexus Consortium is excited to work together to create bold and innovative solutions focused on advanced energy and workforce development, elevating our communities locally, nationally and globally for generations to come. I am excited to see the progress that will be made with this collaborative effort across the great state of South Carolina.”

Clemson University President Jim Clements

“SC Nexus is a tremendous opportunity for innovation and commercialization of advanced manufacturing approaches for the state of SC. SRNL is excited to be a part of this team, and an asset within the state for strengthening domestic manufacturing and national energy security.”

Savannah River National Laboratory Director Vahid Majidi

“SC Competes is thrilled for the designation 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.”

South Carolina Council on Competitiveness President and CEO Susie Shannon

“South Carolina State University is proud to be a participating partner with SC Nexus. We look forward to playing a vital role in augmenting a critical pipeline to fortify South Carolina’s workforce. Our signature programs in Nuclear Engineering and Cybersecurity align with the need for well-trained experts who will help build a powerful and sustainable energy industry in the Palmetto State. I would like to thank the SC Department of Commerce, Governor McMaster and Congressman James Clyburn for including SC State in this historic venture.”

S.C. State University President Alexander Conyers

“We are pleased to be part of this exciting initiative that’s led to South Carolina being designated a Regional Tech Hub. The S.C. Technical College System is committed to channeling the collective strength of our 16 colleges and statewide programs to create the necessary highly skilled talent pipeline. We look forward to the next phase of this journey with our partners. For South Carolina, the opportunities are unlimited.”

S.C. Technical College System President Tim Hardee

“USC is ready and eager to work with our SC Nexus partners to secure South Carolina’s future as a global leader in the energy industry. The innovative technologies we develop will ensure the availability, resilience and security of advanced energy resources for our state, nation and world. Furthermore, by building a robust community of innovators and entrepreneurs in SC Nexus we will keep our top graduates in South Carolina and strengthen the state’s future workforce.”

University of South Carolina President Michael Amiridis

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • 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) from nearly 400 applicants.
  • As a designated Tech Hub, SC Nexus will be eligible to apply for substantial federal grant funding to accelerate ongoing efforts.
  • SC Nexus efforts aim to bolster the availability, resiliency and security of advanced energy in S.C. and beyond.
  • SC Nexus’ defined geography includes portions of the Upstate, the Midlands and surrounding counties, which covers more than 60 percent of the state’s distressed counties. The Distressed Communities Index is a federally established designation.
  • 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.
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