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State funds Energy Innovation Center nearly $1 million

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Energy Innovation Center in Milwaukee gets a big boost Friday, August 1st. Governor Scott Walker announced the state will provide more than $900,000 to support the new center.

The building will bring together industry and academic scientists, engineers and business leaders who will research innovative technologies and nurture start-up companies.

There are already two tenants in the buidling, including a marketing firm. Other tenants are expected to include university and private researchers, workforce education programs and business support services.

"As we build out the space, this should be the largest, most complex accelerator furnishing power control in this country," said Alan Perlstein, Executive Director and CEO of the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC).

M-WERC developed the center five years ago with the help of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. It's garnered support from both the public and private sectors, including local universities and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

"The city has decided it is going to invest or double down on these industries that have historically been the backbone of this region," said Mayor Barrett.

The center is located in the Century City Tower. The first phase of construction is planned for September, and expected to take about a year. A second construction phase is slotted for October and should be finished by mid-2016.