Solar Austin’s mission is to accelerate the transition to clean, renewable energy in Central Texas and to expand access to the benefits of solar to everyone to mitigate climate change, create a healthy community and support a strong local economy.

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CPS Energy: Leading San Antonio into the New Energy Economy

February 23, 2011 : Doyle Beneby

CPS Energy: Leading San Antonio into the New Energy Economy
Wednesday, February 23 · 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Malverde. 400 W. 2nd, Austin.

Doyle Beneby, President & CEO, CPS Energy

Doyle Beneby

Doyle Beneby

Solar Austin will host a special event featuring the leader of San Antonio’s municipal utility, CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby, offering Austinites a great opportunity to learn about CPS Energy’s plan to pursue affordable renewable energy.

This special event will take place at Malverde (400 W. 2nd, next to City Hall) with a Reception starting at 4pm and talk from 5 to 6pm. Parking is available at City Hall or metered parking on the street.


In August 2010, President and CEO Doyle Beneby joined CPS Energy. Beneby brings a wealth of experience in electricity generation operations, new generation development, electric distribution operations, customer service and labor relations.

Beneby joined CPS Energy after serving Exelon for 8 years in various roles. Most recently, as president of Exelon Power, Beneby oversaw fossil, hydro generation, and solar operations, outage and work management, business operations, engineering and technical support, Exelon New England holdings, new generation development, and operational oversight of co-owned facilities and purchased power contracts. Before joining Exelon, Beneby worked for Consumers Energy in Michigan and Florida Power & Light.

Doyle Beneby Reception Sponsors:

Community Energy

RRE Austin


Jamail & Smith Construction

Solar Austin Happy Hour, February: Austin’s Place in the Solar Universe

Three leaders in Texas’ growing solar community discuss Austin’s place in the Solar Universe — from the context of available technologies, how to develop solar today in a cost-effective way, and the benefits that solar development offers our great city.

Shoal Creek Saloon, February 9. Plenty of food, drink and parking

Please RSVP at http://solaruniverse.eventbrite.com/

For more info: https://www.solaraustin.org/

Please join us if you can — and let the sun shine in!


Talk: Austin’s Place in the Solar Universe
Time: Wednesday, February 9 · 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Shoal Creek Saloon. 909 N. Lamar, Austin.

A City that wants its electricity to be Clean
Event starts at 5:30 to eat, drink, mix.
Solar Panel talk commences at 6:30, featuring:

Tom Ortman, President, Concurrent Design – The Solar Universe
Daven Mehta, CEO, RRE Austin Solar, LLC – cost-effective solar development
Michael Kuhn, CEO, ImagineSolar – the benefits for Austin


Tom Ortman

Tom Ortman

Tom Ortman, Concurrent Design

Tom Ortman is the President of Concurrent Design, Inc., an Austin Engineering Design and Build services firm focused on Commercial and Industrial Product Development in the Clean Energy and Solar Energy Sector. Tom is also Co-Founder of the Solar Energy Entrepreneur’s Network (SEEN / CLEEN), Chairman of the Austin SEMI Steering Committee and a Board Member for the CleanTX Foundation.

Daven Mehta

Daven Mehta

Daven Mehta, RRE Austin Solar

Mr. Daven Mehta leads RRE Austin Solar and previously served as the President of RADS General Trading & Pillars Properties and President/Chief Executive Officer of Deto Safe India Ltd. from 2001 to 2006. From 2007 to 2009, Mr. Mehta worked with NEPC India Ltd. Mr. Mehta graduated with a bachelors degree in chemistry from Bombay University in 1981 and a masters degree in organic chemistry from Bombay University in 1983.

Michael Kuhn

Michael Kuhn

Michael Kuhn, ImagineSolar

Michael Kuhn is CEO of ImagineSolar and founder of the first licensed career school in Texas focused on the clean/smart/renewable energy industries. He has consulted for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America Cities program, for Austin Energy’s Value of Solar study, and for several clean energy ventures. Mr. Kuhn holds a Master of Science in Management of Technology from Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas.

January 12 Happy Hour: Everything you always wanted to know about ERCOT but were afraid to ask

Virtually everything related to electricity use in Central Texas is shaped by a single organization:  the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).   Learn how innovations spearheaded by ERCOT are transforming the clean energy world now and what is technically possible in the near future.

Shoal Creek Saloon, January 12.  Plenty of food, drink and parking http://www.shoalcreeksaloon.com/scmap.jpg

Please RSVP at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1161771891

Please join us if you can.

Mike Sloan
Chairman, Subcommittee to get Happy about Solar
Solar Austin

Clean Texas Electricity:  What’s Possible?

(or “Everything you always wanted to know about ERCOT but were afraid to ask”)

Time: Wednesday, January 12  ·  5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Shoal Creek Saloon, 909 N. Lamar, Austin.

Have any questions about CREZ? The NODAL market? Reliability impacts of integrating more wind & solar?

All of these issues have a major impact on future clean energy use in Texas….

And if you have been following electric issues in Austin the last few years, its possible you have heard or read claims — which some consider flat-out wrong — such as:

  • Wind power actually increases rather than decreases toxic emissions from the power sector.
  • Power from “the market” is much more expensive than power produced by city-owned power plants.
  • Solar and Wind are not reliable power sources.
  • Austin must have the Fayette Coal Plant to keep its lights on in 2020?

Are these statements True or False or somewhere in between?

A City that wants electricity that’s Clean, Affordable and Reliable needs to know the Real Answers.

Event starts at 5:30 to eat, drink, mix.

ERCOT Panel commences at 6:30, featuring:
Warren Lasher, ERCOT, Manager of Long-Term Planning & Policy

Mark Bruce, Stratus Energy Group (former chair of ERCOT’s Technical Advisory Committee)

Moderator:  Mike Sloan, Virtus Energy

Hope to see you there….


Warren Lasher
Warren Lasher, ERCOT

As Manager of Long-Term Planning and Policy for ERCOT, Mr. Lasher’s responsibilities include long-range and regulatory transmission planning studies.  His department has been responsible for the development of the CREZ Transmission Plan and recent CREZ implementation studies. Prior to his work at ERCOT, he was employed by the Southern Company in Birmingham, Alabama, where he worked in the System Planning and Engineering organizations.

Mark Bruce
Mark Bruce, Stratus Energy Group

Mark Bruce is a co-founder and Principal of Stratus Energy Group, where he enjoys providing business and project development solutions; market analysis and market rules support; and regulatory and public policy assistance for a diverse array of clients in the electric power industry.  Prior to consulting, Mr. Bruce served 6 years as Director of Market and Regulatory Affairs for FPL Energy (now NextEra Energy Resources), served as Chairman of the ERCOT Technical Advisory Committee, and was a Policy Analyst for the Electric Utility Restructuring Legislative Oversight Committee of the Texas Legislature.

Beth Garza
Beth Garza, Potomac Economics — INVITED but not expected due to conflict

Beth is now Deputy Director of the ERCOT Independent Market Monitor, was a former Manager at ERCOT, and a former Austin Energy manager responsible for generation planning.  While she is not expected to participate in our panel, Beth is an outstanding resource for decision-makers seeking an independent expert opinion for electric issues in and around Austin.

Solar Austin Happy Hour: Green Power Investment, Love It or Hate It?

In what promises to be a lively evening, Solar Austin has invited representatives of community groups that don’t always agree with clean energy enthusiasts for a robust discussion of issues shaping Austin’s energy future. Affordability and Green Power champion Rep. Eddie Rodriguez will also offer his insights.

Shoal Creek Saloon, Dec. 15.  Plenty of food, drink and parking http://www.shoalcreeksaloon.com/scmap.jpg

Register Here

Please join us if you can.

Mike Sloan
Chairman, Subcommittee to get Happy about Solar
Solar Austin

Talk: Green Power Investment: Love It or Hate It ?

Time: Wednesday, December 15  ·  5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Shoal Creek Saloon

909 N. Lamar, Austin.

Some in Austin say Green Power is too expensive.  Our solar goals, too ambitious.  Local media report green power will raise electric bills, leaving some groups concerned.

While present day challenges are very real, a careful look at the facts suggests renewables and energy efficiency have thus far provided more value than cost in Austin.   If we can do it smart, future green power likewise can be cost-effective and help control electric bills.

The current situation conjures up the Cool Hand Luke line: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Solution? Let’s get together and communicate.

The Dec. 15 event is an opportunity for those interested in a greener, cleaner future to reach out to those who may see the world differently.

Mike Sloan will lead the conversation by offering a wide range of information and provocative ideas on a number of topics, ranging from Austin Energy’s spending trends,  affordability of different supply options, to business model reform.

A diverse panel of commentators will respond with wider community views, with opportunities for additional comments from those in attendance.

Event starts at 5:30 to eat, drink, mix.

Conversation on Austin’s Energy Future — and how to get our Green Mojo back — commences at 6:30. Please participate.

Mike Sloan, Virtus Energy & PowerSmack


Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, Texas House of Representatives
GaryBernie” Bernfeld, Austin Electric Utility Commission
Roger Borgelt, Austinites for Action, Co-Chair
John Sutton, BOMA & CCARE


Mike Sloan, Virtus Energy & PowerSmack
For more than 20 years, Mike has consulted exclusively on renewable energy policy, education and project development for a wide range of projects in North America, Europe, Africa, and Hawaii using wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and/or hydropower. During Mike’s long tenure as Managing Consultant of The Wind Coalition, Texas became the #1 Wind State in the U.S.  Mike played an instrumental role in development of Texas’ landmark Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ), Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), and Renewable Energy Credit (REC) programs — generally regarded as “best practices” models in the U.S.  Locally, Mike chaired Austin’s Sustainable Energy Task Force (developed GreenChoice), was a founder of Solar Austin (advocated for solar rebate program), was a member of Austin’s 2009 Generation Planning Task Force and founded PowerSmack.org a forum on energy and politics in Austin Texas.

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, Texas House of Representatives
First elected in 2002, Representative Eddie Rodriguez currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Select Committee on Transportation Funding, on the Public Safety Committee and the Technology, Economic Development and Workforce Committee.  Eddie was born in McAllen, Texas, and received degrees from the University of Texas in Government (1995) and Law (2008). Eddie’s legislative focus is on regional transportation, affordable housing, health and human services and the promotion of renewable and sustainable energy as part of a statewide approach to improving environmental quality and creating economic development opportunities for Texas.

GaryBernie” Bernfeld,  Austin Electric Utility Commission
Gary “Bernie” Bernfeld is a Commissioner with the City of Austin Electric Utility Commission as well as on the board or active with a number of other community organizations;  he was also a stakeholder on Austin’s ECAD taskforce.   Bernie has 30 years in finance and credit and has worked for the last 20 years in mortgage with the last 10 as a Sales Manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

Roger Borgelt,  Austinites for Action, Co-Chair
Austin lawyer Roger Borgelt has twenty years’ experience in the practice of progressive environmental, administrative, utility and professional licensure law. A former Assistant Attorney General of Texas and Deputy Chief of the AG’s Consumer Protection Division, Borgelt entered private practice in 2006 and has been active in community activities, including as co-chair of Austinites for Action.

John Sutton, BOMA & CCARE
Sutton is Assistant Vice President  of the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation and is the energy representative for the Building Owners and Managers Association. He served as a member of Austin’s Generation Resource Planning Task Force in 2009 and is a board member of the Austin-based Coalition for Clean Affordable and Reliable Energy (CCARE).