Cyber Talk Radio: Energy, Partnerships and Innovation in San Antonio

Bret Piatt, CTR Host and Jill Vassar, EPIcenter director of development & partnerships - Week 86 of Cyber Talk Radio

Show Summary

This past Saturday, May 19, episode 86 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Jill Vassar, director of development and partnerships at EPIcenter, to discuss the upcoming hub for new energy developments in San Antonio.

We start off the segment with an introduction to Jill and EPIcenter. If you’re unfamiliar with EPIcenter — in which ‘EPI’ stands for Energy, Partnerships and Innovation — it was started by San Antonio’s municipal energy provider, CPS Energy, who has made the decision to diversify its energy with renewables and a dedicated space to make that happen. Jill discusses the ongoing $53 million capital campaign that will transform a part of San Antonio’s Mission Reach district to a renewable, yet historical, energy plant where new energy technologies can be tested and produced. EPIcenter is going to be located at a historic power plant, Station B, which was built in 1909 and decommissioned in 2003. They are working to make the building LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified while preserving its historic integrity. The components of the EPIcenter space will include a fabrication laboratory, a think tank, a startup business incubator, a conference center, and an exhibit space. We then discuss how this space will be important to keep San Antonio’s history and future connected through preservation and education. How can someone donate to the capital campaign? Just contact Jill Vassar and she’ll help you with the rest.

In the second half of the show, we chatted about what CPS is doing in innovation with the partners located at EPIcenter, specifically the think tank, which will launch this summer. They will be kicking off their Lecture Series, where they hope to have four lectures per year. They’ve introduced the Power Network, a donor and membership program, in which the network receives all of the industry- and EPIcenter-specific news first. The center will also act as a museum of CPS Energy history, Jill talks to me about six energy meters from over the years that will be on display to exemplify the innovation and progress that the city has been a part of. Another element of EPIcenter is their conferences and summits, which encompasses the new energy incubator and accelerator programs. Some recent startups that have come from this are Go Smart Solar and Morton Gestalt. Finally, how’d Jill first get involved in EPIcenter? She was working in economic development and learning about its relationship to electricity and power. At the same time, she worked in nonprofits as a volunteer. Consequently, her combined skills made her a perfect candidate to work with EPIcenter.

Listen to the episode replay to learn more about EPIcenter, go here or watch below.

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