Solar Austin

Solar Austin Happy Hour! Superpower: One Man’s Quest to Transform American Energy

For our September happy hour, acclaimed author and journalist Russel Gold will share the story of an audacious attempt to build the largest renewable energy project in the United States right here in Texas. Any transition from a North American power grid that uses mostly fossil fuels to one that is predominantly clean requires a massive building spree—billions of dollars’ worth.

Enter Michael Skelly an infrastructure builder who began working on wind energy in 2000, when many considered the industry a joke. Eight years later, Skelly helped create the second largest wind power company in the United States—which was sold for $2 billion. Wind energy was no longer funny; it was well on its way to generating a substantial percentage of the electricity in the United States.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM 
Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto Boulevard Austin, TX 78701)
RSVP Here

About Russell Gold: 

As a senior energy reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Russell Gold has reported on energy regularly since 2002. His coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was honored with a Gerald Loeb Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The San Francisco Chronicle called The Boom, Gold’s first book, “the best all-around book yet on fracking.” His follow-up effort, Superpower, tells the story of an urgent quest to transform America’s energy future. Gold lives in Austin, Texas, and BookPeople carries both of his books locally.

RSVP here.

Getting There:
Please consider taking the bus to the happy hour. There are many buses within easy walking distance of Scholz Garten. Plan your trip here. If you drive, State Parking Garages can be found next to, behind, and across from Scholz Garten. San Jacinto Blvd., 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and Trinity have parking garage entrances.

Support the Cause:
Although our happy hours are free and open to all, we hope you’ll consider donating to Solar Austin.  Help us keep solar energy growing in the Austin area.  You can purchase a ticket to the happy hour or use the donate button here on our website to avoid fees.

 

Solar Austin Community Workshop on Expanding Access to Solar

We’re doing something a bit different this month. Instead of our regular happy hour, Solar Austin is hosting a community workshop to gather input on the topic of expanding access to solar.

In September, a team that will include Austin Energy staff, a couple members of the Solar Austin board and other solar policy experts will participate in a workshop hosted by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). This team of seven will focus on identifying ways to expand access to solar in Austin. We know that many renters and lower-income residents, particularly from communities of color, haven’t been able to take advantage of the direct benefits of solar energy.

The goal of the Solar Austin workshop will be to gather community input to help guide the team at the RMI workshop in September. We want to help develop solutions that address the needs, concerns and aspirations of the community.

Huston–Tillotson University has graciously offered to host this event and Solar Austin will provide food and drink.

WHAT: Solar Austin Community Workshop on Expanding Access to Solar
WHEN: Tues., Aug. 27, 5:30 dinner and networking, 6:00 presentation and discussion groups
WHERE: Dickey-Lawless Science Building at Huston–Tillotson University (#1 on the map)

RSVP is appreciated, so we know how much food to buy.

In addition to a short presentation to share the basics about solar and some sample programs, we’ll have facilitated group discussions to try to determine:

  • level of awareness about solar among lower-income residents
  • the main barriers that keep lower-income residents from accessing solar
  • any barriers specific to people of color
  • aspects of solar energy that excite people most
  • the most important features of a new solar program

Anyone who wants to contribute to this work is welcome, but we especially hope to get more people of color, renters and lower-income residents involved in this conversation because those are the groups that have been underserved by the current solar programs.

Ensuring equity in access to solar energy and other climate solutions is an important aspect of climate justice. Solar Austin is committed to making the benefits of solar energy accessible to everyone in the Austin community.

We hope you’ll join us and bring a friend, family member or neighbor who falls into one of the underserved customer groups.


Getting there: Huston–Tillotson University can be accessed by several bus lines. If you drive, there is free street parking on Chalmers Ave and Chicon St, and in the Huston-Tillotson parking lot off Chalmers St between 8th St and 9½ St.

Solar Austin Happy Hour: ERCOT Electric Grid System Planning

For our July happy hour, Warren Lasher will explore emerging grid challenges and opportunities associated with balancing power generation and consumption within the Texas Interconnection, one of four frequency-independent power grids in North America. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is unique among these interconnections in so far as the balancing authority, the interconnection and the regional transmission organization are all the same entity and physical system. In a recent feature on KUT, Lasher likened ERCOT’s role as a reliability coordinator and balancing authority to John Bohnham’s role in Led Zeppelin. Just as a drummer might need to maintain a tempo of 60 beats per minute, ERCOT needs to maintain the heartbeat of the grid at 60 cycles per second.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM 
Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto Boulevard Austin, TX 78701)
RSVP Here

 

About Warren Lasher: 

As Senior Director of System Planning for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), Warren Lasher is responsible for transmission planning, load forecasting and resource adequacy analyses for the ERCOT interconnection. Lasher has been at ERCOT for over fourteen years; before this he was employed by the Southern Company in Birmingham, Alabama, where he worked in the Engineering and the Planning organizations. Lasher has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, and graduate degrees in Environmental Management and Computer Science.

 

What are my parking options for the event?

State Parking Garages can be found next to, behind and across from Scholz Garten. San Jacinto Blvd., 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and Trinity have parking garage entrances. 

Although our happy hours are free and open to all, we hope you’ll consider donating to Solar Austin.  Help us keep solar energy growing in the Austin area.  You can purchase a ticket to the happy hour or go to our website, solaraustin.org, to donate and avoid fees.

For regular updates on our Happy Hours and more information about Solar Austin, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, and sign up for our email list via solaraustin.org.

Get more information and RSVP here.

We hope to see you at Scholz!

Solar Austin Board of Directors

 

Texas Solar Energy Society Seeks Executive Director

The Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has launched a search for a new Executive Director to succeed Lucy Stolzenburg. Effective December 31, 2019, Lucy is resigning from her role heading TXSES for the past seven years. TXSES is seeking an Austin-based professional to manage and lead the organization, which is supported by non-profit groups, business and individual members, and other generous donors. The Executive Director will be responsible for increasing and diversifying revenue streams; establishing, directing, and executing strategic programs; and acting as the TXSES ambassador and liaison with the public, government, affiliated organizations, and other stakeholders. More information is here.

COMMUNICATIONS & EVENT COORDINATOR

Solar Austin is a mostly volunteer run organization, but we need part time help to get our work done and achieve our mission. The Solar Austin Communications and Event Coordinator will work under the supervision of the President or another member of the Board. The Communication and Event Coordinator will take on many of the routine duties required to host monthly happy hour events as well as other administrative and research duties, as assigned.

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Attend monthly Solar Austin board meetings on the 1st Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30pm
  2. Coordinate and Attend monthly happy hours on the 4th Tuesday of each month from 5 to 8pm (including setup). Coordination includes:
    • Speaker Coordination: working with Board Members to identify happy hour speakers, contacting and confirming speakers at least 6 weeks in advance, putting together short biographies, photos and a brief descriptions of speaker and topic.
    • Event Marketing (at least 1 month in advance): creating an Eventbrite invitation for each event, posting happy hour information to the Solar Austin website, sending an email blast to the Solar Austin supporter list, creating event pages on  Facebook and MeetUp, and effectively promoting all events on Facebook, Twitter, MeetUp and any other useful platforms and calendars.
    • Event Management: Bring all needed materials to and from event, get AV set up and staff the sign-in table.  Show people where to sign in; collect donations; be welcoming and answer questions (or direct questions to a board member).
  3. Manage sign-in sheets and petitions by adding contacts to Solar Austin database.
  4. Communications: Write regular monthly  blog posts on Solar Austin website. Share posts via the Solar Austin Facebook and Twitter accounts. Post daily updates to the Solar Austin Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  5. Assist with solar, utility, and other research as needed.
  6. Other administrative duties as assigned.

REQUIREMENTS:

Education:  High school diploma or GED required; some college work preferred

Knowledge: How to utilize social media to engage the public; some knowledge about solar energy and/or policy

Work Experience:  Some previous professional experience required; experience putting on events and using social media professionally strongly desired

Skills:  Excellent written and oral communication skills; well organized; good computer skills (experience with WordPress required; basic HTML beneficial, but not required); good social media skills (particularly Facebook and Twitter); graphic design and video skills valued, but not required

Capabilities:  Self-motivated; organized; ability to work independently, desire to learn about and advance solar energy policies and programs

APPLY

To apply, email info@solaraustin.org with your resume, cover letter, writing sample and social media samples.