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EPIcenter will bring place-changing, pace-setting new energy hub to San Antonio
By Kimberly Britton on July 19, 2016
The opportunity to serve as CEO of San Antonio’s EPIcenter is a privilege. When the possibility arose, I felt I had been working my entire career toward this juncture: the chance to build something lasting, meaningful, place-changing and pace-setting for our community. To lead the transformation of San Antonio’s historic Mission Road Power Plant to the Energy Partnership Innovation Center translates into more than a new adventure. For me, it’s a calling.
Situated on the banks of the San Antonio River in the heart of our city’s renowned Mission Reach restoration, the EPIcenter will serve as new energy’s innovation hub. It will also be a think tank, museum, community destination, incubator, learning center, and much more. Notably, EPIcenter is a non-profit and a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. The project is funded by charitable and grant dollars and managed by its own staff and board of directors.
Our goals for EPIcenter are ambitious and far-reaching. It will be a place that reflects and embraces our community–where people gather and learn how the magic of electricity happens, its history and its future. We aspire to become an institution admired worldwide as a leader, trailblazer, and innovator in new energy —that is, power generated by solar, wind and landfill gas that complements carbon-emitting “old energy” like coal, gas and oil.
In short, EPIcenter will be a place with local impact and global reach that shines by example. Nothing would define success for us more than to bolster the economic development of our neighborhood and, at the same time, have classrooms in Beijing using case studies developed at San Antonio’s EPIcenter to teach their electrical engineering students.
We begin that journey with a solid foundation. EPIcenter has the unique advantage of leveraging the best that public and private sectors have to offer. A cushion of credibility accompanies your cause when a respected, community-owned institution like CPS Energy serves as your creator—a security unavailable to most new nonprofits.
Our mission also benefits from the support of a group of founding sponsors who are among the most innovative companies in new energy— OCI Solar Power, Silver Spring Networks and Landis & Gyr. The leadership of these companies has committed $10 million in cash and $5 million of in-kind support to EPIcenter. We appreciate their partnership.
We have much work to do. First, we will create the appropriate infrastructure—staffing, office, IT and other necessary systems. We’re working on that.
We are in the process of completing the design and preparing ourselves for future construction. We are also reaching out to our many stakeholders, from neighbors and partners to government officials, community and national organizations and fellow nonprofits.
Finally, we will raise money to bring our mission to fruition. Our start is strong, but realizing our goals will require sustained funding, an estimated $30 – 50 million. Through one-on-one conversations and proposals to like-minded funders, both public and private, we will gain the additional support vital to construction and deployment of the building and its programs.
Practically speaking infrastructure, people and funding will be our priorities in year one.
EPIcenter is more than a decommissioned power plant finding a new lease on life. At its core it is a place where transformative technology is born and made accessible for mom, dad and the kids. It is a haven for great minds to have great thoughts and a platform from which to launch them. It is a place for you and those who care about our energy future.
Now, let’s get started!