A principle objective of the Energy, Policy, and Innovation Center (EPICenter) is to produce, disseminate, and amplify rigorous, fact-based policy studies that address Southeastern perspectives on global, national, and regional energy issues. EPICenter research studies involve interdisciplinary research teams led by Georgia Tech faculty and engage external stakeholders and advisors.
More energy related publications are available at Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute website.

Energy 101 Mini-MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

Researchers: Richard Simmons (PI), John Thornton, Mark Philpot
The Energy 101 SE video series provides high level as well as regional perspectives on energy systems, resources, economics, policy, and technology fundamentals for a general audience from ages 14 to 114. It builds upon a previous and comprehensive Energy 101 MOOC developed by Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute and originally launched in 2012. Nearly 100,000 learners accessed the course in the past decade with about ten percent completing the entire 40 modules.
Visit the Energy 101 Page

Report cover - Image of solar array with wind turbines and mountains in the background.

Valuation of US Infrastructure Assets Related to Liquid Hydrocarbons and Transportation:
With Implications on the Decarbonization of Mobility and the Grid as of Sept. 2019
Researchers: Richard Simmons and Keri Metz

This report summarizes existing asset values and investments for U.S. infrastructure related to liquid hydrocarbon transportation systems. This includes primarily assets in the hydrocarbon fuel supply chain as well as the engines and equipment that consume hydrocarbon fuels. The motivation prompting this effort is generally stated as a desire to better understand near-, medium-, and long-term pathways to decarbonize transportation. As such, this particular effort was a part of a broader scoping effort in which researchers with Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute sought to compare the economic viability of renewable hydrocarbons as a substitute for petroleum-derived fuels. This includes both biofuels and synthetically produced alternative fuels. Doing so is believed to help facilitate a more direct and holistic comparison of renewable fuels with other forms of sustainable transportation, such as electric vehicles (EVs).

Industrial Data and Industrial Internet of Things
Researchers: Milton Mueller (PI), Karim Farhat

Industrial data (ID) has the potential to play a key role in finding efficiencies in energy markets and thus lower rates for consumers. This study explores strategies for the energy sector with respect to ID production and sharing in the Southeastern U.S. region. It focuses on the sources and uses of ID, and the evolution of energy firms within the ID ecosystem. The goal of this work is to provide energy executives and policy makers with recommendations that will help maximize the usability and production of industrial data in the Southeastern U.S. energy context.

Assessment of Grid-Scale Energy Storage Scenarios for the Southeast: Benefits, Costs, and Implications
Researchers: Santiago Grijalva (PI), Richard Simmons (co-PI), Sadegh Vejdan

An evaluation of the role that grid-scale storage technologies will play in the coming decade.  The study addresses key gaps given the regulatory model and the lack of market signals for the benefits and services of energy storage systems (ESS) in the Southeast region. The report quantifies the economic viability for a range of ownership and operation scenarios including: behind the meter (BTM), utility owned/operated, and uniquely, joint models for customer-sited/utility operated batteries.

Georgia’s Model Solar Ordinance

Representatives from Emory Law School, Georgia Institute of Technology, and University of Georgia came together to develop a model solar zoning ordinance for Georgia counties and cities to utilize as a template in amending their zoning codes. The Georgia Model Solar Zoning Ordinance (Georgia Model Solar Ordinance or Model Ordinance) is a comprehensive solar land use ordinance based on best practices learned nationwide and shaped to fit Georgia’s specific needs. It is meant to be an example—a place for counties and cities to look when deciding how best to regulate the siting of solar energy systems in their communities.

Work Products Coming Soon

Energy and Logistics
Researchers: Valerie Thomas (PI) and Industrial & Systems Engineering Team
This project has articulated emerging trends in logistics to facilitate understanding and strategic action in the US southeast. Insights suggest disruptions to field of logistics presented by: the interplay of the physical internet and the transportation of physical objects, decarbonization of logistics, and the need for closer coordination among the roles of industry, government and NGOs in energy and technology transformation. The whitepaper, “Creating the Next in Logistics: Economic Development and Sustainability in the Southeast,” will be released this spring.

Grid Outages and Community Resilience
Researchers: Scott Ganz (PI) and Chuanyi Ji (PI)
Based on a robust dataset from Hurricane Michael, the team has developed models that co-analyze outage data and economic impacts. Initial findings show limited evidence that zipcodes with certain characteristics (e.g., small business, community demographics, others) are associated with response time. The team plans an initial publication describing its methods. It is also seeking addition data to refine its understanding of resilience by evaluating the socio-economic impact of the power outages, focusing on potential policies that can benefit small businesses and communities. The team anticipates releasing its first publication, “Energy Infrastructure and Community Resilience: A spatiotemporal data analysis of the social and economic impact of power failures in the SE United States,” this summer.


Kemper Technical Review

As a first-of-its-kind project, the Kemper Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle (IGCC) Plant with Carbon Sequestration and Storage (CCS) is an important and timely case study for the technical community. The findings detailed in the report have considerable value to a range of stakeholders, including the research community and energy policy decisionmakers.

Industrial Data
An analysis of how the digitalization of industries and industrial data is evolving into a business itself, capable of producing services and opportunities across organizations and economies. To illustrate this, the EPICenter has produced an Industrial Study One Page Overview as well as a more detailed study, Industrial Data and Regional Economic Development, with the Georgia Tech Center for Urban Innovation. Additional data and details are available in the presentation, Industrial Data and Regional Economic Development: An Emerging Industry Nexus. The findings of this study were also presented in a joint event with the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and Siemens, “Digitalization in the Industrial Sector: Implications for Energy, Technology, and Policy”.

The Energy Burden in the Southeast: Solutions through Community and Business Engagement
Researchers: Michael Oxman (PI), Marilyn Brown, Beril Toktay

An analysis of the current and potential methods for reducing the energy burden in the Southeast and the business case for each strategy, producing actionable recommendations for policy and technological solutions.

Grid Integrated Vehicles in the Southeast: Engineering, Business Models, Costs, and Benefits
Researchers: Marilyn Brown (PI), Deepakraj Divan

An evaluation of the alternative mechanisms for expanding the deployment of EVs in the Southeast through improvements in technology, infrastructure, and novel business models. The findings and final paper can be found here.

Smart Cities and the Role of Data Transparency in Evidence-based Energy Policies at the Urban Scale
Researchers: Jennifer Clark (PI), Debra Lam, Emma French

Interdisciplinary and cross-sector research of the processes behind and approaches to data-driven policies, resulting in the identification of data that is used for energy efficiency policies across cities in the Southeast. The findings and final paper can be found here.