Energy is important. And in a rapidly changing world where the amount of available natural resources is fixed and population is expanding exponentially, sustainable energy generation practices are becoming more and more important.
Here in Georgia, we spend more than $30 billion¹ to purchase the materials we need to generate the energy we need to power our lives. But what if we could generate that energy with resources found at home? That question is something that Center of Innovation for Energy Technology director Costas Simoglou spends his days answering. The answer, according to Costas, is innovation.
The idea of constant innovation in the service of sustainability is the heart and soul of the Center of Innovation for Energy Technology. From a big-picture perspective, according to Simoglou, the main objective to creating a sustainable energy environment in Georgia is to build up every aspect of the energy ecosystem and allow them to become strong. The energy ecosystem includes biofuels, solar energy, electric vehicles, and battery technology along with a variety of other energy sectors. “Humanity always solves problems with innovation,” says Costas. In his larger explanation, Costas will state that in order to innovate within the energy ecosystem, the innovator must focus on their environment, and what about that environment creates an “unfair advantage” within the market.
“Humanity always solves problems with innovation”
One of Georgia’s “unfair” advantages in the energy economy is its great amount of sunlight. This, specifically, has been one of the largest drivers of Georgia’s burgeoning clean-energy economy.
According to a report commissioned by Environment Georgia, Georgia is the second fastest growing solar energy sector in the country. This is due in large part to efforts of the Center of Innovation for Energy Technology to drive progress and provide support across all aspects of the energy ecosystem. In the solar market alone, there are several strong examples of Georgia’s Centers of Innovation at work. Norcross-based Suniva Technology is an energy start up borne out of the Georgia Institute of Technology that received project management support from the Center of Innovation and is now a major player in solar energy technology that continues to manufacture in Georgia, while German firm Sonnenbatterie chose to locate its U.S. operations in Georgia due in large part to efforts of the Center of Innovation for Energy Technology and its ability to connect firms with cutting-edge researchers at the university level.
Clean energy in Georgia in 2016 accounts for more than $3 billion in revenue and more than 19,000 full time jobs, with 3,000 of those jobs alone coming from the solar sector. The Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy Technology is dedicated to touching every base and connecting every dot in order to build up every aspect of a bustling clean energy industry in Georgia.
“Everything we need is on the surface of the Earth,” says Costas Simoglou, and with a focus on innovation, we can use those resources to keep some of that $30 billion we export to generate energy here at home. So as technologies continue to improve and costs continue to lower, Georgia is set up to be a leader in the clean energy industry for years to come.
To learn more about the Clean Energy Industry in Georgia, click here to read the latest report from Southface.
Learn more about the Center of Innovation for Energy Technology by visiting Georgia.org/Innovation.
[i] 1 U.S. Energy Information Administration. “State Energy Data System (SEDS): 2012.” Accessed online: www.eia.gov/state/seds/seds‐data‐fuel‐prev.cfm?sid=GA. Referenced on Jan. 26, 2015.