The innovative work of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives to support clean technology was recognized by the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster as it presented its 2020 Cleantech Innovation Awards during a virtual awards ceremony on Dec. 9.
Wake Forest-based Wake Electric received the Cleantech Community Award for its work on Eagle Chase, a new residential microgrid in Youngsville that provides added power resilience and reliability for neighborhood residents. This award recognizes innovative projects incorporating clean technology to create positive impacts for the environment, economy and residents.
“We are excited to be able to offer a residential community its own microgrid, and provide a resiliency like no other subdivision in the state,” said Don Bowman, Wake Electric’s vice president of engineering and operations. “Through this project, 31 homes are going to have over 36 hours of backup power for both reliability and a local resource when the grid is constrained with capacity.”
In addition, Mike Burnette, senior vice president and chief operating officer for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, was named Cleantech Champion of the Year. This award recognizes an individual who exemplifies commitment to supporting the cleantech industry. Achievements may include an outstanding commitment to sustainability, business expansion or relocation, development of high-impact technology, or spearheading regional/cross-sector collaboration to drive innovation.
“This award goes to the entire team that has championed the use of clean technology in the electric business space,” Burnette said. “Of all my responsibilities, I have derived the most satisfaction from working with our member cooperatives to innovate clean energy projects that create positive impacts for the environment and their local economies. The reward of improving the quality of life for our members and their communities is without measure.”
Burnette also highlighted the cleantech work North Carolina’s electric cooperative network has continued to lead and invest in, which includes incorporating additional renewable resources and clean energy technologies, partnering with the agricultural industry to implement cleantech solutions for their operations and expanding a statewide electric vehicle charging network.
“All of these efforts tie into our vision for a Brighter Future that strengthens rural North Carolina, provides sustainable, low-cost energy and innovation, and delivers the cooperative difference,” Burnette said. “Cleantech is key to making this all possible.”
This is the second year the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster has presented its Cleantech Innovation Awards to recognize and honor cleantech innovation and deployment. Four of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives were nominated for this year’s awards.
Learn more about the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster and the Cleantech Innovation Awards at researchtrianglecleantech.org.