sEDS = Sustainability Innovation + Classic Economic Development Strategy


Sustain NC is a professional development initiative of InnovoGraph LLC nurturing sustainability innovation. The central initiating Sustain NC service project is completion of the North Carolina Clean Power Plan. Part of making that happen is deploying a Smart Grid, Distributed Energy, and Efficiency Program (Smart Grid DEEP).


There is need for a deeper innovation ecosystem across America and the globe using sustainability as a strategy lens. A future nonprofit is on the list of potential tasks. Sustainability and Smart Grid are terms used by the US Government and also the NC Department of Environmental Quality. UNC Charlotte will be announcing a Carolinas Energy Future NC-SC plan that has elements of clean power planning. The idea of cutting greenhouse gases from human activity is way beyond a trend now. Sustain NC goes to great lengths to disabuse the notion that sustainability is ‘politicized’. The Department of Defense incorporates sustainability concepts into essentially every mission area now.

We are the group aiding in the process of defining what sEDS means for North Carolina. Sustain NC members are free to design strategy around Federal, state, and local issues. Indeed we are free to connect North Carolina with global sustainability innovation opportunities. Join Sustain NC.

Sustain NC is a community innovation and sustainability leadership group for our state. Sustain Asheville / Sustain WNC would be examples of local initiatives under the developing Sustain NC program. Sustain NC can be a State of North Carolina program similar to current economic development programming. Of course in this case municipalities, universities, nonprofits, and unaffiliated citizens develop what sEDS means as part of future Sustain NC efforts.

Charlotte, NC is home to a $160 million White House initiative focused on Smart City information technology elements. The information technology aspect is only one of many aspects of the Sustain NC approach to Smart City strategy. There’s also the Sustain Charlotte example. In part developing the Sustain NC strategy starts with imagining a bigger, deeper healing economy for North Carolina. One where North Carolina is a national and international leader on sustainability innovation. In history things can go from bad to great fast. That choice can be made by our Sustain NC Leaders. First we need to collaborate and a better way to do so.

In Western North Carolina it’s become clear a Smart Grid, distributed energy, and efficiency program is needed as part of Duke Energy’s WNC Modernization Project. The statewide Smart Grid DEEP / Smart Cities and Towns Consortium is the current main Sustain NC strategy in support of the NC Clean Power Plan. To measure progress and expand strategy around the case for climate change mitigation and adaptation, more needs to be done in North Carolina.

Download the Sustain NC – Smart Grid DEEP Overview PDF

Sustain NC programming

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has an Energy Systems Integration practice that is suitable for greater understanding of how these factors form a chain link strategy. This integration of energy resources work in the past has been outsourced to Independent System Operators like Duke Energy. When it comes to transportation, that energy system is especially diffuse and little coordinated activity has been present beyond the deployment of sometimes PV-enabled electric grid-tied non-hydrogen EV charging stations.

The NREL practice allows for a range of technologies laid out in the NACAA Menu, and hydrogen electric vehicles for a Zero Emission Vehicle Roadmapping approach. Smart Grid DEEP is North Carolina’s Energy Systems Integration practice. Linked to carbon mitigation science, monitoring, and current sustainability business model innovation, InnovoGraph and Sustain NC supports crucial additional aspects of a coordinated NC Clean Power Plan. Each component is a sustainability innovation opportunity.

InnovoGraph is promoting the National Association for Clean Air Agencies’ Implementing EPA’s Clean Power Plan: A Menu of Options (NACAA, 2015) as a key document for Smart Grid DEEP and the other proposed Sustain NC outcomes. The NACAA Menu refers to the concept of integration in CleanTech electrical grid planning 330 times.

For the USA north and east of Texas, large solar and wind installations depend on the Eastern Interconnection.  The Eastern Interconnection is the section on the national electrical grid North Carolina is tied to. Our subsection is the SERC Reliability Corporation (SERC). SERC stands for Southeast Electric Reliability Council, which was a prior manifestation. There is no Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, or International Energy Agency model showing variable renewable energy resources, energy storage (large batteries), and general efficiency entirely replaces the majority of the conventional energy sources the USA used in 2013 amounting to 4113 Terawatt hours of electricity. The NACAA Menu and other high value research offers a range of options that when fed into local and state planning provides a logical technical, finance, and supportive policy roadmapping template.

The NC Clean Power Plan needs to be environmentally smart, technically practical, and responsibly economical. Smart Grid DEEP technologies tied to these policy resources, InnovoGraph, Sustain NC innovation ecosystem partners form the development and deployment of a responsible NC Clean Power Plan.

NREL-ESI large

Source: US Department of Energy / Click to enlarge

Sustain NC fills out a lack of statewide coordination on sustainability issues. Whether it’s developing and disseminating climate science findings or responding to sustainability risks with significant opportunities, each Sustain NC strategy aspect has an economic development and national security benefit. The Sustain NC test is how well experts are willing to come together and make progress on an issue as important as the NC Clean Power and other climate protection solutions.

Specific possible Sustain NC project areas:

  • Add your community challenge and/or opportunity.


Join Sustain NC

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