UNC Charlotte’s energy research plans are EPIC
Posted on 11 Jul 2008 by Justin Ritchie
credit: Charlotte Research Institute
Long before oil neared $150 a barrel and gas was $4.00+ a gallon, UNC Charlotte saw that the strategic placement of many top energy infrastructure firms like Duke Energy, The Shaw Group, and Areva in the Charlotte region made North Carolina’s urban center a prime location for America’s energy future. The $57.2 million allocated by the NC budget passed through the Senate earlier this week demonstrates that legislators have bought into the vision developed by leaders at Charlotte’s research campus. Now fully funded, the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) is certain to place UNC Charlotte at the forefront of national infrastructure improvements. With 7 to 10 percent of the nation’s generated energy lost to inefficiencies in transmission, a meager improvement could lead to billions in savings and the prevention of megatons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.
With a strong research university leading the way, Charlotte can establish itself as the energy innovation center of America and the world. Already home to the top sustainability knowledge base in the nation, an influx of solidly educated energy graduates will accelerate local growth in an increasingly booming industry.
2006 SustainLane Sustainability City Rankings for Charlotte
EPIC will likely begin construction in the next 16 months with an estimated completion date of 2011, establishing itself as the the new home for UNC Charlotte’s Electrical and Civil Engineering departments.
But perhaps the biggest news for Charlotte’s energy future is the addition of a fourth light rail stop on the Northeast Lynx extension between North Tryon and 485. With one stop on North Tryon before entering UNC Charlotte’s campus, the Lynx will have a station near the campus’ new student union. Now an additional stop will be made by the Lynx at the future north side of UNC Charlotte’s campus (perhaps the home-to-be of a new football stadium and located across Mallard Creek Church Road from central campus) before heading out to the 485 station at the end of the line. The additional stop will allow efficent land use and encourage smart improvements to infrastructure, one of the biggest problems currently plaguing University City.
In summary, it has been a big week for UNC Charlotte and the future of our city!