EXDU: What roles have the different practices, venues, programs, levels, and institutions of education (formal and informal) played in shaping how local stakeholders think about and practice energy transition?


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James Adams's picture
June 25, 2019
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UT Austin’s engineering department has a strong national presence in energy science. The department's Energy Institute hosts a 15 week-long Energy Symposium with weekly, public seminars given by energy experts from around the country. However, this institution has deep historical ties to Texas’ oil and gas industry. See the following quote from their website “The University of Texas at Austin has long been renowned for research related to the state’s iconic oil and gas industry. Today, university researchers are pioneering innovative ways to produce energy from these traditional sources in an environmentally responsible manner, while also leading groundbreaking research into new technologies that cover the entire spectrum of energy.”


Solar Austin holds a happy hour once a month, which includes a presentation by a local professional working in solar or clean energy. Recent speakers include representatives of the Clean Energy Credit Union, the Austin SHINES project, and UT Austin’s Director of Sustainability. CleanTx has a monthly “power lunch” mixer, where you can meet with local clean-tech industry leaders and entrepreneurs for networking purposes. UT’s Webber Energy Group has “Clean Energy Beers” once a month, where local members of the community get together to discuss clean energy and energy transition in Austin. (Usually) Dr. Michael Webber and members of his team at UT Austin are there and available for conversation as well.


Austin Energy holds a Resource Planning Working Group every two years (or so), where a “representative sample” of the community come together to learn about Austin’s energy needs and resources, and to develop a plan for transitioning to lower-carbon fuels, but within the affordability rates set by the state.