SEI Launches New Energy Policy Innovation Center
Oct 24, 2016 — Atlanta, GA
Georgia Institute of Technology today announced the creation of a new, major regional energy center. The center will operate out of Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) and provide an unbiased and interdisciplinary framework for informing energy policy and systems analysis for the Southeast region.
While located at Georgia Tech, the center will tap into regional expertise within academia, think tanks, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGO), and research facilities. Conferences, workshops and symposiums will also be held at the center, which will serve as a neutral facilitator of a range of interdisciplinary academic, business and nongovernmental stakeholders to discuss relevant, important energy issues.
“Our region depends on us to help address our unique energy challenges,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson. “I can think of no better way to explore solutions to these challenges than to bring together the best minds and resources in the region. We look forward to working with experts in regional utilities, academics, industry, national labs and the Department of Energy to deliver pragmatic solutions with maximum impact in the Southeast.”
According to “Rising to the Challenge”, a report produced by the National Research Council, federally-funded research and development has not been connected to state and regional industrial development. Bridging that gap can create the local talent and technology base needed to convert these U. S. investments into domestic companies, industries, and jobs. The report also documented that private businesses and local education institutions are among those organizations in the best positions to identify opportunities, gauge competitive strengths, and mobilize wide community support for regional cluster initiatives.
There is growing recognition that solutions to global energy challenges must be tackled at a regional level. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz spoke in support of just such an approach during a recent meeting hosted by The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Different parts of the country have different resources, challenges, and capabilities, and having a component managed at the regional level, we think, can best address those,” Moniz said.
The Southeast region has a diverse energy mix, with natural gas power generation growing at about double the national rate, is home to the only new nuclear plants in the country, and is a leader in deploying utility scale solar. It is also a global leader in industrial big data, hosting the largest global concentration of corporate facilities that are aggregating, analyzing, and remotely controlling major energy infrastructure.
“The center will focus around these distinctives and engage a variety of regional stakeholders, to produce rigorous, fact-based policy studies and analyses that will address southeastern perspectives on global, national and regional energy issues”, said SEI executive director, Tim Lieuwen.
The goal is to broaden views and approaches for energy innovation, for example, by including policy, economic, even social considerations along with conventional technological factors. As such, this venture is the first known implementation of a regional partnership to focus on the interdependencies of energy policy and technology toward the pragmatic realization of clean, reliable, affordable energy solutions.
Jhai James, Communications Officer
Strategic Energy Institute