Cluster of energy industry firms
More than 250 energy sector firms are currently operating in the region, employing more than 20,000 workers. Charlotte is home to Duke Energy’s global headquarters, as well as large engineering operations by Areva NP, URS/Washington, Westinghouse, Siemens Power, Fluor Corporation, Parsons Corporation and Chicago Bridge & Iron.
There are a growing number of companies in the renewable energy sector. Products as varied as wind turbines to solar panels to hybrid buses are built in this region. Energy storage and manufacturers of energy-efficiency products are also prevalent throughout the region.
Since 2007, the region has averaged 1,000 new jobs to the region each year within the energy sector with major announcements released by such well-known companies as Toshiba, Siemens, Electrolux and Celgard.
- Toshiba – nuclear engineering center
- Sencera Technologies – solar panels
- DesignLine International – hybrid buses
- Siemens – wind turbines
- Saertex – nonwovens for wind turbines
- Duracell – batteries
- Celgard – fuel cell batteries
- Electrolux – energy-efficient household products
Charlotte USA is home to one of five Electric Power Research Institute’s R&D facilities in the U.S. EPRI’s laboratory facilities provide a resource specifically geared to the needs of the nuclear power industry and include research, testing, failure analysis, qualification, code case support and performance demonstration. The campus houses its own:
- Welding lab
- Metallurgical lab
- Nondestructive evaluation lab
- Performance demonstration facility
Envision: Charlotte is a first-of-its-kind community sustainability program that brings together an unprecedented alliance of major employers, building owners and managers along with municipal and technology leaders. The city will use technology to help change the way we think about energy use and the environment. The goal is to spur sustainable behaviors and reduce energy use in Uptown Charlotte's business community by up to 20% in five years. Learn more
- Participating office buildings will have the ability to monitor and manage energy usage
- Special monitors in high-traffic locations will show how we're doing as a community with near real-time data and graphic displays about energy consumption and other sustainability practices.
NCSU Nano Energy Lab, located in Raleigh, N.C., is a multi-departmental research effort at NC State University to advance the field of nanomaterials and nanostructures for renewable energy devices and systems. The lab also has a Photovoltaics Process and Analysis Facility located on Centennial Campus at NC State.
Silicon Solar Consortium (SiSoC), located in Raleigh, N.C., is a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) led by NCSU and involving numerous universities and photovoltaics manufacturing companies.
- Addresses those science and technology issues the international photovoltaic silicon materials industry must solve in order to meet the future needs of advanced silicon solar cell manufacturing, while educating graduate students in photovoltaic materials/devices.
Biofuels Center of North Carolina, located in Oxford, N.C. on the 420-acre Biofuels Campus, is able to adopt a comprehensive approach to biofuels development by having access to laboratories, greenhouses and space to obtain agronomic data from field trials – all within walking distance.
- Private, nonprofit corporation funded by North Carolina General Assembly to implement North Carolina's Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership and to reduce the state's dependence on imported liquid fuel
- Support for a sustainable, statewide biofuels industry to reduce foreign-fuel dependence and to create jobs, opportunity and prosperity for North Carolinians
- Goal: by 2017, to produce 10 percent of North Carolina’s liquid fuels – about 600 million gallons a year – in state from locally grown biomass
Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems Center (FREEDM Center), located in Raleigh, N.C., is headquartered on NC State University's Centennial Campus.
- One of Gen-III Engineering Research Centers (ERC) established by National Science Foundation in 2008
- Partner with universities, industry and national laboratories in 28 states and nine countries to develop “smart grid” technology to revolutionize the nation's power grid and speed renewable electric-energy technologies
Center for Energy Research and Technology (CERT), located in Greensboro, N.C., conducts interdisciplinary energy-related research, development and training.
Energy Center at Appalachian State University, located in Boone, N.C., has programs in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy technology, biofuels, policy analysis, forecasting and economic development.
Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, located in Winston-Salem, N.C., began by exploring the fundamental nature of charge transfer between conjugated polymers and nanophase dispersants in ordered composites.
- Wake Forest University program
- Expansion to consider novel device architectures that more efficiently utilize the capabilities of nanocomposites.
- Several key pieces of intellectual property in the field of solar energy based on organic devices.
Solar Energy Research Center, at UNC Chapel Hill, has received a grant expected to be valued at $17.5 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Energy and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for innovative interdisciplinary research.
- Develops solar fuels to integrate light absorption and electron transfer-driven catalysis in molecular assemblies and composite materials to create efficient devices for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, and reducing CO2 to methanol and hydrocarbons
- Researches next-generation photovoltaic technology to focus on structurally controlled molecular assemblies and composites
Central Piedmont Community College Energy Portal lists energy related efforts and valuable resources. The portal also has a job center which links directly to HR and specific energy companies.
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth of renewable energy and energy-efficiency industries. Founded in 1987, this group focuses on education, public policy and economic development.