Wake County and the Research Triangle Region are home to an impressive number of smart grid and cleantech industry resources. From private sector and non-profit testing and validation facilities to public research institutions engaged in developing next generation technologies, these assets are frequently cited as major contributors to the growth of the local cluster.
FREEDM Systems Center
The Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center is an NSF-funded engineering research center focused on developing new technologies associated with the smart grid. The Center, which is also home to the Advanced Transportation Energy Center (ATEC), counts close to 50 companies as active industry partners. Its solid state transformer was recently named one of the world’s 10 most important emerging technologies by MIT’s Technology Review.
NC Solar Center
The North Carolina Solar Center, at NC State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies. The Solar Center serves as a resource for innovative, clean energy technologies through demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. It also administers the Database of Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), a resource providing financial incentives and policies.
ABB Center of Excellence
The ABB Center of Excellence includes a testing and development laboratory, a verification center to certify customer solutions before deployment, and a demonstration center that showcases ABB’s smart grid technologies and collaborative partnerships.
Research Triangle Park
The Research Triangle Park is the nation’s largest research park and home to a broad spectrum of companies, from Fortune 100 multinational research and development operations to start-up firms. The park spans 7,000 acres and houses more than 170 companies—a number of them with smart grid operations—that employ more than 42,000 people full-time and another 10,000 on a contract basis.
Smart Grid Executive Roundtable
Wake County Economic Development has created a smart grid executive roundtable, which is an industry-lead forum, for business-to-business networking, to strengthen the cluster in Wake County and the Research Triangle Region, and to communicate specific information about the area’s economic development efforts. The overarching goal of the roundtable is to strengthen the cluster through linking local businesses through the supply chain, promoting opportunities for partnership, and marketing the region externally.
Meetings typically bring forty to fifty people representing 25 to 30 smart grid companies and partners. For more information about the smart grid roundtables, contact Michael Haley, Project Manager with Wake County Economic Development.