Author Archive: mattw

Electric Cooperatives: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Programs


(In some cases having fled the summer sun…too much of a good thing!  Let’s put that resource to work.)

Come join Solar Austin for an engaging event with RB Sloan, Pedernales Electric Coop CEO and Mark Rose, Bluebonnet Electric Coop CEO.  We are very fortunate & honored that these two community leaders are willing to speak to us and answer questions about their respective utilities’ plans for the future.

The discussion will focus on the directions for Distributed Generation and Energy Efficiency programs, but all topics are open for questions and as with past events we foresee a diverse & vibrant audience!

Our Speakers:

RB Sloan, CEO of Pedernales Electric Coop

Mark Rose, CEO of Bluebonnet Electric Coop



When:  WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2011

              5:30-6:30pm Mixer, 6:30-7:30pm Speakers

Where:  29th Street Ballroom  – Near the Spider House Café (2908 Fruth Street,  Austin, TX)         map link 

This event is free and open to the public. 



RB Sloan Bio at Pedernales Electric Coop Website              Mark Rose Bio at Bluebonnet Electric Coop Website


Green Options for Greater Austin

If you live in or around Austin and want to buy green power, become more energy efficient, do rooftop solar, or charge your EV pollution free….

You need to attend our next Solar Happy Hour.

Solar Austin is pleased to welcome leaders from Austin Energy (which serves most of Austin) & Green Mountain Energy (which serves many “competitive market” areas surrounding Austin, across Texas and elsewhere in the U.S) to share what programs are currently available to their respective customers.

Hope you can join us next Wednesday at Malverde.

Talk: Green Options for Greater Austin
Time: May 25, 5:00 PM Mixer, 6:30 ­ 8:00 PM Panel Discussion
Location: Malverde (400 W. 2nd, across from City Hall)


Karl Rabago and Jason Sears

Karl Rabago and Jason Sears

Karl Rabago, Austin Energy, VP Distributed Energy Services


Jason Sears, Green Mountain Energy, Senior Manager of Product Management and Strategy

Moderator:  Mike Sloan, Virtus Energy



Karl R. Rábago, Austin Energy

Karl R. Rábago leads AE’s energy efficiency, green building, market research, key accounts, and advanced transportation groups and is AE’s executive sponsor to the Pecan Street Project. Karl has had a stellar career in electric policy, clean tech & sustainability including: Texas PUC Commissioner, Deputy Asst. Secretary at U.S. DOE, Managing Director at Rocky Mountain Institute, & a creator and chairman for the “Green-e” certification program. Karl’s academic & military resume includes: Aggie (BBA), Longhorn (JD), post-doc degrees in environmental & military law. Univ. of Houston & West Point Law Professor. Tank commander. JAG Corps. Airborne. Ranger…. yet also known to fashion accessorize with Gecko lapel pins & quote Dr. Seuss.

Jason Sears, Green Mountain Energy Company

Jason Sears is the Senior Manager of Product Management and Strategy at Green Mountain Energy Company, the nation’s leading retail electricity provider of cleaner, renewable energy and carbon offsets. Prior to joining Green Mountain, Jason managed product marketing and management for First American Spatial Services Company, an Austin-based GIS solutions start-up that serves the energy and finance industries. Jason also sits on the Mueller Residents Council for the Pecan Street Project.

Major Generation Options for Austin

As you might imagine, events in Japan and NRG’s announced scaleback of efforts to increase generation capacity at the South Texas Project nuclear station have had an impact on our planned presentation on Major Generation Options for Austin and the speaker line up.  However a discussion of generation options is always timely as new events and new developments change our available options.

We are fortunate to have two speakers who can address most energy topics with authority:

Chris Strand, Heather Otten, Dr. Michael Webber

Chris Strand, Heather Otten, Dr. Michael Webber

Chris Strand, Energy Efficiency Expert / Founder of Strand Brothers
Heather Otten, VP of Development, Invenergy / President, The Wind Coalition
Dr. Michael Webber, Univ. Of Texas at Austin / Electric Utility Commission / Pecan Street

MODERATOR:  Mike Sloan, Virtus Energy


Chris Strand founded in 1978 Strand Brothers, an Austin-based residential and small commercial HVAC contractor and one of the largest Building Performance contractors in the nation.  Chris Strand was instrumental in the creation and development of Austin Energy’s incentive programs for energy efficiency and served on the Zero Energy Home Capable task force and the Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure task force.  Chris Strand left Strand Brothers earlier this year to pursue other opportunities.

Heather Otten has been active in the wind industry for almost eleven years and during that time has helped bring over 1,400 megawatts of wind energy projects online in Texas and New Mexico. Heather currently manages Invenergy’s development portfolio in excess of 3,000 megawatts in ERCOT and SPP.  She also directs the company’s participation in statewide policy initiatives and serves as the President for the Wind Coalition ( <>).

Michael Webber is Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator, and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas.  He is on the Board of Advisors of Scientific American and has authored more than 125 articles, columns, and book chapters.  He is an active speaker, including testimony for U.S. Senate and the United Nations. Michael holds four patents and is an originator of the Pecan Street Project, a multi-institutional public-private partnership in Austin to create the smart electricity and water utilities of the future.

Please join us for a lively discussion of what the future of energy in TX might look like.

Sign Up Here

Time: April 13 (Wed), 5:00 PM Mixer, 6:30 to 8:00 PM Panel Discussion
Location: Malverde, 400 W. 2nd Street

Parking: Best options are likely the City of Austin garage (free if you visit your city council member and invite them to the event too…and have your parking validated) or  metered street parking.

Changing Austin Energy’s Rates: 2011 and beyond…

Solar Austin HH  (note venue change)

Electric rates in Austin are going up next year… Curious to know how the City will decide how much?  Solar Austin is pleased to announce its Solar Happy Hour for March 9 featuring an exceptional group of experts:

Chris Riley Austin City Council Member — perspective from body that must approve any rate increase
Larry Weis Austin Energy General Manager — leading effort to update the utility’s rate structure
Angelos Angelou Angelou Economics — brings perspective on local community impacts
Alan Holman Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell — lawyer involved in Austin’s most “recent” electric rate cases, 1985-1994

Where:     Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto,   in the interior meeting room         

When:      March 9, 5:00pm – mixer, 6:30pm – panel discussion


Register at EventBrite or use the form below.

Solar Austin HH with Doyle Beneby

CPS Energy: Leading San Antonio into the New Energy Economy

The Doyle Beneby HH on Wednesday, 02_23, at MalVerde was well attended and well received.  Thanks to our sponsors for providing hors d’oeuvres and to Doyle Beneby for providing a positive outlook on CPS’s continual augmentation of renewable generation sources in its energy mix.  Finally thanks to all who attended for making it a lively and enjoyable evening.