North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2013

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From Fortune 100 companies to start-ups setting up shop in North Carolina, D.H. Griffn offers a wide range of professional construction services. We bring an owner���s perspective to the delivery of personalized construction services 919.835.3655 www.DHGC.com In its Duke Energy Smart Grid Lab, students create electricity-transmitting networks that can communicate trends or hot spots in usage to operating engineers and ���healing��� transmission grids that reroute electricity around outages. In a nation of aging and overloaded networks, smart grids are one of the hottest movements in the energy sector. ���In the Triangle area there���s a growing presence of smartgrid companies that are very important as we develop our energy economy,��� Carroll says. ���Both ABB Group and Siemens have smart-grid centers of excellence, and both have grown signi���cantly in the last two or three years.��� ABB recently opened a $10 million technology center in Cary, and San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco Systems Inc., Raleigh-based Red Hat Inc. and others are involved in smart-grid ventures. Back in Charlotte at EPIC���s Siemens Large Manufacturing Lab, students and faculty members study and research welding, precision assembly, robotics and other technology vital to powergenerating equipment. Energy-industry manufacturing is growing in the state, and Carroll cites Durham-based Semprius Inc.���s new $90 million plant in Henderson as an example. The company, which plans to hire more than 250 workers in ���ve years, makes modules that concentrate solar energy more than 1,100 times before placing them in tiny solar cells. ���We worked with them on a startup operation in Durham County, then after development work, they���re looking to commercializing and going into manufacturing. Now we���ve found a way to keep them in a rural setting with their manufacturing in Vance County.��� A key was the availability of skilled workers now and in the future. To meet these needs, EPIC offers some of the nation���s most advanced training for engineers. Its 55-member faculty includes engineering professors as well as those from architecture, biology and chemistry. ���A lot of these technologies are not just pure engineering,��� Enslin says. ���We engage with the business school to develop energy-relatNorth Carolina EDG ed business models. And energy now encompasses things like biofuels and sustainable-energy assets. We���re not offering a new degree, and we want to make sure the person has a good mechanical, electrical or civil-engineering degree, but the concentration will give him a certain edge if he wants to go to work in the industry.��� Its ���rst students began classes in August 2012. All told, the William States Lee College of Engineering, under which EPIC falls, has about 3,000 students and 600 graduates each year. It���s named for one of the pioneers of today���s Duke. How many will have energy concentrations is uncertain, but Enslin expects the number to grow as the program matures. ���At ���rst we could have about 100 a year, but we could push it to 150 or 200. That���s my goal, but we���ll feel successful if we graduate 100 a year with the concentration.��� Throughout the state, industry, business and education leaders will be watching ���We���ve put a lot of effort into growing and targeting companies in the energy sector, and developing the infrastructure to support it ��� like the EPIC program ��� is important,��� Edge says. ���We���ve been pretty bold in saying we���re the new energy capital, and we���re working to make that happen. The workforce is one of the criteria most companies are going to look at, and when you get into something like energy, with its skilled and specialized needs, you have to be able to deliver.��� Though the state has surged to national energy prominence, Urlaub says it can improve. ���Between the mid-���90s and 2011, we increased the number of clean-energy ���rms in the state tenfold, but we rank only about middle of the pack in terms of ef���ciency of energy use among all states.��� The bright spot is solar energy, in which North Carolina ranks 11th in the nation. Graduates, however, will be entering an energy landscape with a constantly shifting horizon. ���We���re looking at solar, hydro such as ocean and wave energy, biomass power like agricultural waste and wood waste and then there���s energy ef���ciency ��� ���nding ways to reduce the amount of energy we

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