March 5, 2013 – Austin, Texas
Student Teams Shine…
On Friday, March 1 at the Texas Capitol, student teams from Texas A&M University, Texas Tech and the University of Texas at Austin competed for a $10,000 scholarship in the 2nd Biennial Texas Energy Innovation Challenge. The three teams each presented their ideas for extending affordable and reliable power to the colonias before a panel of 12 expert judges who scored the proposals using a set of objective criteria. The three teams powerpoint presentations proposed the following:
- “Powering the Texas Colonias” (Texas A&M) recommended a three-prong policy strategy that involved loosening regulations, passing legislation and expanding existing initiatives.
- “Power Across Texas Energy Innovation Challenge” (Texas Tech) proposed a multi-prong approach to addressing the social, economic, cultural and regulatory challenges facing the colonias, including the use of promotoras.
- “Empowering Change in Texas Colonias” (University of Texas at Austin) proposed a Sun to Grid model as a transition technology with the ultimate goal of connecting residents to the electrical grid.
And the Winner Is….
Power Across Texas is excited to announce that Carlos Olmedo, Charles R. Upshaw and Patricia M. Varraveto from the University of Texas at Austin were selected as the winning team earning a $10,000 scholarship.
Courtney Pinnell, TJ Rosson, Juan Rodriguez, and Teo Hall from Texas Tech University were awarded Second Place and a $7,000 scholarship.
Third place and a $5,000 scholarship was awarded to Rachael Dahl, Lauren Pfeifer, and James Robertson Texas from A&M University.
We would like to extend a special thanks to Secretary of State John Steen for attending and the office of Senator Eddie Lucio, our hardworking panel of judges and our generous sponsors: Lincoln Renewables, AEP, ETT, Sun Edison and Magic Valley Cooperative.
And so the winner is, in the words of Secretary of State John Steen, all of the people of Texas!
The announcement of the Texas Energy Innovation Challenge winner on March 1 was not the end of this competition but, in fact, it is the beginning of an important ongoing effort to bring access to electricity in Texas’ colonias. Over the coming months, Power Across Texas will continue to drive the conversation on how to implement key elements of the innovative solutions proposed by the student teams. With the knowledge, experience and support from of our expert judges and generous sponsors, the sky is the limit to what we can achieve together whether it be policy recommendations, business models or social investment programs … or, all of the above. Stay tuned!