The Steps Toward a Sustainable Austin Energy Symposium Presented by LBJ School of Public Affairs and School of Law

March 4, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas — The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the School of Law at The University of Texas at Austin present the Steps Toward a Sustainable Austin Energy Symposium on March 10 in the School of Law's Eidman Courtroom.

Community members are invited to learn about and discuss how Austin Energy can become a sustainable utility company by 2020.

The symposium is the culmination of a year-long research project by 22 University of Texas at Austin graduate students and undergraduate students to answer the questions of whether and how Austin can reach carbon neutrality by 2020. Under the supervision of David J. Eaton, the Bess Harris Jones Centennial Professor of Natural Resource Policy Studies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and with guidance from Austin Energy and Solar Austin, the students have developed recommendations for how Austin Energy should provide energy to Central Texas.

"The LBJ School's work, culminating in this symposium, dovetails perfectly with what we've been doing for months through our public participation process—seeking input on what path Austin Energy should chart to meet future demand and challenges," said Austin Energy General Manager Roger Duncan. "Feedback from our customers is vital to Austin Energy's decision-making process. It is my hope that Austin residents attend this important meeting and voice their opinions."

The symposium offers three interactive activities for community members. The day kicks off with a scenario training session at 9 a.m. Audience members are encouraged to test their ideas for how Austin Energy should provide energy to Central Texas by 2020 using a program created by the graduate students. The program offers an interactive and visual description of the benefits and drawbacks of various energy technologies.

Starting at 1:15 p.m., attendees are welcome to engage in four panel discussions with leading experts from various sectors of the energy industry on their preferences for how Austin Energy can achieve carbon neutrality by 2020.  Panel discussions include: "Austin Energy's Coal, Gas and Nuclear Future," "Austin Energy's Solar, Wind and Geothermal Future," "Regulatory Issues for Austin Energy, 2020" and "Customer and Community Preferences for Austin Energy, 2020."

The symposium will conclude with a public forum beginning at 6:30 p.m. Audience members are invited to share their opinions and preferences on how Austin Energy should provide energy to Central Texas. Prior to this discussion, graduate students involved in the research project will present their findings regarding Austin's future energy generation.

"After months of comprehensive research and deliberation, these students have identified options to transform Austin Energy into the world's first carbon neutral electric utility," said Solar Austin Co-founder Chip Wolfe. "As a co-sponsor of this course, Solar Austin is profoundly appreciative of their efforts."

All events are free and open to the public. Parking is available at a modest cost in the San Jacinto Parking Garage adjacent to the School of Law.

For more information, contact: Kerri Battles, Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, 512-232-4054.