With tech company moves to S.A., UTSA is key to growing energy economy

Mayor Julian Castro

At UTSA Downtown Campus on Monday, Mayor Julian Castro announces move of five energy technology companies to San Antonio
(Photo by Patrick R. Dunn)

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(June 22, 2011)--The UTSA Downtown Campus hosted an historic event Monday, June 20, where San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and CPS Energy President and CEO Doyle Beneby announced that five major clean-energy companies plan to move to San Antonio. The development will have enormous implications for UTSA.

The companies that pledged to relocate to the Alamo City include Raleigh, N.C.-based Consert, which provides energy management and conservation systems to residential and commercial customers; Boerne-based GreenStar, which manufactures LED lights for cities and commercial and industrial sites; and Boerne-based Cold Car USA, which manufactures electric-powered refrigerated trucks.

Additionally, Maryland-based SunEdison will open a regional office in San Antonio to provide CPS Energy with 30 megawatts of solar power from three regional locations, and Seattle-based Summit Power Group LLC will open a San Antonio Summit Texas Clean Energy customer relations office and build a clean-coal plant near Odessa, Texas.

As San Antonio's clean-energy industry grows, UTSA will serve as a center for new and renewable energy education and research. Initially, UTSA will receive support from:

  • SunEdison, which will donate $300,000, primarily to UTSA and also to CPS Energy and the City of San Antonio, for clean energy research and development;
  • GreenStar, which has pledged to give $10 to the city for every LED light it manufactures in San Antonio to support local clean-energy education;
  • Philips Lumileds, which supplies GreenStar's LEDs and plans to establish a Center for Excellence in LEDs at UTSA;
  • Texas Instruments, a GreenStar partner, which will support UTSA's engineering curriculum by providing Texas Instrument development tools for use in UTSA engineering laboratories;
  • Summit Texas Clean Energy, which will host its national Carbon Management Advisory Board in San Antonio at UTSA; and
  • Consert, which will partner with UTSA and others in smart grid research and development.

In 2010, UTSA established the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute to coordinate the energy-related expertise of UTSA faculty and to position UTSA as a leader in energy education, research and policy to partner in transforming the energy future of the San Antonio, Texas and the nation.

"San Antonio has the opportunity to seize a mantle that no city in the U.S. holds today -- to be the recognized leader in clean energy technology," said Castro. "By building a critical mass around research and development that will grow and attract the brainpower of the 21st century, San Antonio can be for the new energy economy what Silicon Valley is to software and what Boston is to biotech."