Austin’s Energy Future – taking the reins
Last night I joined 400 other Austinites in Welch Hall at the University of Texas for the 65th Hot Science Cool Talks event. The topic for the evening was the Pecan Street Project and how the technology being used at Pecan Street will allow people to meet their energy needs in smarter and more innovative ways.
In other cities it might seem strange that we were willing to spend Friday night learning about a highly technical and complex topic like distributed generation in a smart grid system. But in Austin, it’s not as surprising – according to one of last night’s panelists, Dr. Michael Webber, Austin has a large population of people who care about the environment, recognize its connection to energy and are willing to put their time and money behind green movements.
The Austinite mindset has resulted in per capita electricity use rates in our city that are 20% lower than the Texas average. The widespread understanding and concern regarding of how our choices impact others has manifested in our support of Green Choice Programs and the Austin Clean Energy Incubator. Combining this community will with the academic and industrial resources found in Austin, it is not a surprise that the Pecan Street Project, Mueller Development, and Domain are all located in Austin – 3 communities specifically designed with sustainability and efficiency in mind. We believe in the ideas that these projects embody: environmental stewardship, sustainable development and the power of a healthy community spirit.
The abundant resources and collective will in support of innovative solutions to the energy and environment puzzle make the Austin Technopolis ideally suited to stride to the front of the clean energy movement. The Pecan Street Project is another shining example of our city taking the reins to be a leader in the energy and environment movement.
Thank you to the Environmental Science Initiative at UT Austin for organizing this event.
For a GREAT video on the Pecan Street Project, check out this video