EPICenter Inaugural Funding Recipients Announced


Projects Focus on Leveraging Interdisciplinary Partnerships, Collaborations that Address Energy Issues. Proposals seeking solutions for regional energy burdens, grid integrated vehicles, and smart cities have been selected to receive the first round of open-solicitation funding from the Energy Policy and Innovation Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The request for proposals, which was distributed to Georgia Tech faculty and staff in May, generated a number of diverse and innovative submissions. The research efforts outlined in the three funded proposals align with the mission of the Energy Policy and Innovation Center (EPICenter) which is to provide authoritative, unbiased, fact-based policy studies and analyses that address southeastern perspectives on global, national, and regional energy issues. Partnerships and collaboration that leverage regional expertise are a particular focus of this funding opportunity.

The EPICenter is specifically focused on energy innovation in the Southeastern United States in view of a growing awareness that the nation’s energy system is composed of regions, each of which has unique energy needs and opportunities. Richard Simmons, director of the EPICenter is pleased with the response received as well as the final selections. “The Summer 2017 proposals canvassed a broad range of interdisciplinary issues that can help Georgia Tech and key partners differentiate ourselves in energy and innovation for the Southeastern United States,” he said. “Each of the selected submissions exemplifies new opportunities to address needs by relying on regional strengths and pragmatic, market-based analyses. Whether the theme is energy equity, the convergence of vehicles and the grid, or energy data benchmarking in southeastern cities, these projects show timely potential for impact by exploring intersections among policy, technology, economics, and other social considerations.”

The objectives of the proposed research submissions crosscut several themes unique to the Southeast and yet are beneficial to other parts of the country. The proposal for researching the Southeast’s energy burden, for example, has a tangential relationship to the other selected submissions. For example, energy burden, as a measure of economic and social inequity is critically important in Atlanta, given that the city has the fourth highest median energy burden of any city in the nation. Although electricity rates are low in the South, levels of energy consumption are comparatively high, particularly among low-income households. Methods of decreasing that burden may be realized by researching new business models as well as relationships between data and energy, as open-data is expected to yield smarter, data-driven energy policies that in turn regulate greater efficiency which benefits the growth of smart cities. Also beneficial to the growth of smart cities? The increasing number of electric vehicles, which will affect resources that support the nation’s power grid.   

The Center will conduct a second solicitation round later this fall, with award announcements expected by the end of the year.  Choose a link below to read summaries of the Summer 2017 selected submissions. 

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