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Spotlight: An EPIC Project Gets a Big Boost

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Spotlight: An EPIC Project Gets a Big Boost

Date Published:
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It’s a win-win for industry and academia.

On Friday, Jan. 21, Duke Energy and Siemens Energy announced $8.8 million in support for the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte. EPIC will be headquartered in a $76 million facility on the University’s Charlotte Research Institute campus.

Duke will contribute about $4.5 million and Siemens $4.3 million over several years as EPIC develops and grows. The purpose of EPIC is to train engineers, research emerging technologies, and attract new and expanding energy companies in the Charlotte region.

The demand comes as the energy industry faces a workforce crisis at the same time there is the need to build new energy facilities in this country. And UNC Charlotte has a history of supplying professional talent to energy and engineering firms.

By 2030, demand for electricity is expected to grow by 40 percent in this country. To meet this challenge, the energy environment is evolving rapidly, with innovations in the works to develop everything from electric vehicles, natural gas, wind, solar and nuclear.

As North Carolina’s urban research university, UNC Charlotte will play a key role in the transformation of Charlotte – primarily known for its banks – into a major energy hub. The latest evidence is the partnership between the two large energy firms and the University.

EPIC will transform the future of our energy workforce and job development across this growing region.
Dhiaa Jamil, Duke Energy Chief Generation Officer and Group Vice President

EPIC will train a new generation of engineers and conduct research in new energy technologies. In doing so, the Center will serve the diverse needs of existing and emerging energy companies, further positioning Charlotte as an energy hub.

At the announcement on Jan. 21, Chancellor Philip L. Dubois said the major financial support from Duke Energy and Siemens Energy reflects the depth of academic and industry collaboration in the Charlotte region.

UNC Charlotte also will be hiring new faculty members and a director at a time when most universities are grappling with drastic budget cuts.

“EPIC will transform the future of our energy workforce and job development across this growing region,” said Dhiaa Jamil, Chief Generation Officer and Group Vice President for Duke Energy, who also chairs EPIC’s Industrial Advisory Board. “It will be a resource for engineering students from many universities and colleges, and a national resource for the development of cutting edge technologies that continue to shape the energy industry.”

Photo by Wade Bruton.