EPIcenter to Promote Clean Energy Technologies

By John Salazar

Updated Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 09:53 AM EDT

A complex plan was unveiled Wednesday.

“Part of it will be education. Part of it will be training. Part of it will be sustainability. Part of it will be energy reduction,” John Huffaker with OCI Solar Power said.

Representatives from OCI Solar, CPS Energy, Silver Spring Networks and Landis GYR joined forces to invest $15 million to create Energy Partnerships Innovation, or EPIcenter.

“It’s a partnership that involves sustainability, environmental consideration, education, community developments and economic developments,” Huffaker said.

More than $30 million will turn the old Mission Road energy plant on the southern edge of downtown San Antonio into a new technology innovation hub.

“The EPIcenter will be critical for San Antonio,” Huffaker said.

The abandoned 5-acre site will be transformed to include community spaces, an auditorium and collaborative work and education spaces. When completed, the campus will be home to a nonprofit organization named New Energy Economy.

“One of the ways it transforms the neighborhood is that it changes a vacant building into an innovation center of which we have never seen before,” Council Member Shirley Gonzalez said.

The city is doing its part by repaving roads in the area and building new sidewalks. The public also gets access to the high-tech center.

“The community will use it as a way to educate themselves but also as a way to learn more,” Gonzalez said. “It will bring in different aspects of energy that we haven’t seen before.”

Phase one of construction is expected to be completed by 2018.