“Pecan Street Project” Brings Together City of Austin, Austin Energy, University of Texas, Austin Chamber and Environmental Defense Fund To Design Energy System of the Future

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“Pecan Street Project” Brings Together City of Austin, Austin Energy, University of Texas, Austin Chamber and Environmental Defense Fund To Design Energy System of the Future

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National Corporate Partnerships with Dell, GE Energy, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Freescale Semiconductor and GridPoint Announced at Clean Energy Venture Summit

(Austin – Dec. 3, 2008) – Representatives from the City of Austin, Austin Energy, The University of Texas’ Austin Technology Incubator, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) unveiled details of the Pecan Street Project, a bold effort to design a new, clean energy infrastructure, business model and proving ground for tomorrow’s energy technology. Corporate partnerships with Dell, GE Energy, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Freescale Semiconductor and GridPoint were also announced.

“Austin has the opportunity to play the same role in the evolution of America’s energy economy that it did with the semiconductor boom in the ‘80s,” said Austin Mayor Pro Tem Brewster McCracken. “The Pecan Street Project will bring together the best talent from Texas and across the country to address the infrastructure, technology and policy challenges that stand between us and a cleaner, reliable, affordable and modernized electricity system.”

Austin is not the only city embarking on a “utility redesign” or “smart grid” project. But because Texas has its own grid, modifications to the power system do not require federal approval. And because the City Council is Austin Energy’s board of directors, Austin is in a unique position to implement technology changes more quickly and offer its electric grid as a real-world proving ground for tomorrow’s clean energy technology.

“Several other cities are testing clean-generation or efficiency products,” McCracken said. “We’ll do that. But we’ll also test the software, storage and business models we need to make it all fit together."

The project scope includes designing a system that:

  • delivers plentiful, reliable and affordable energy to Austin’s growing citizenry;
  • is responsible with Texas’ most precious natural resources, like air and water;
  • can eliminate the need for more polluting power plants;
  • produces a power plant’s worth of energy, generated within the city limits via renewable resources, and that;
  • Austin intends to share with cities across America and around the world. This project will help cities map out the creation of the infrastructure it will take to power their economies and preserve the environment.

The City approached EDF this fall, and preliminary planning meetings occurred in October. Staff from EDF’s Austin, New York, California and Washington, D.C. offices are involved in the project.

“Through their work with McDonald’s, FedEx and DuPont, EDF has demonstrated a unique expertise in bringing together industry leaders to address our most pressing challenges,” McCracken said. “Together with our experts at Austin Energy, staff from the Austin Technology Incubator, the Chamber and these excellent corporate partners, EDF will spearhead the nine-month project to develop the technical specifications and sustainable business model for a truly modernized utility.”

Corporate partners will assist the project team by providing staff resources and strategic guidance within their areas of expertise. Partners will also help the project team identify technologies that can be pilot-tested on the local electrical grid once the initial phase of the project is completed.

In addition to the corporate partnerships announced today, the Pecan Street Project will be tapping the expertise of SEMATECH, the world's leading advanced technology consortium, to help structure the clean energy R&D consortium.

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