CPS Energy building R&D center in old power plant

CPS Energy New Energy Economy partners, OCI Solar Power, Silver Spring Networks and Landis+Gyr, have joined with the San Antonio community, agreeing to become founding sponsors and commit a lead gift of $15 million to create the Energy Partnerships Innovation Center, EPIcenter.

The center will focus on clean energy technologies and innovation and will be located at the historic Mission Road Power Plant. The EPIcenter will be focused on new and emerging energy industry technologies.

Details of the facility will be finalized following a community outreach process. The EPIcenter is envisioned as a community space to include an auditorium for conferences and events, collaborative and open work spaces, energy exhibits, education and presentation areas, office space and a New Energy Economy think tank.

The re-imagined former power plant will support not only the CPS Energy mission of exploring new ways to provide affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, it will fuel economic development and research by bringing financial support to San Antonio from outside the local community. The EPIcenter is proposed to operate as a nonprofit organization, led by a board comprised of CPS Energy and New Energy Economy partners. The nonprofit would be funded entirely with private dollars raised regionally, nationally and internationally.

CPS Energy developed preliminary concepts for the facility, including an architect’s rendering of how it might look. It would occupy the five-acre campus, while paying homage to the site’s long history as “Station B,” which provided gas-powered electricity to San Antonio for 95 years until it was decommissioned in 2009.

Renderings depict the iconic red brick chimney and original buildings meshed with energy-efficient flexible spaces that can expand or collapse depending on audience size and type. It could serve as a community center, innovation lab, and business incubator.

Specific plans for the future facility will be finalized after officially filing for 501(c)(3) status, the announcement of the board, and the selection of an executive director to lead fund development. The first phase of development is targeted for completion in early 2018.

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