The 2013 Texas Energy Innovation Challenge was an opportunity for graduate students from inter-disciplinary academic programs at three major universities in Texas (UT, A&M, Tech) to bring research and imagination to help solve an existing energy problem for Texans: the continued lack of access to electricity among residents of the Colonias in South Texas. The participants in the Challenge presented both a written proposal and oral presentation to an august group of evaluators that outlined the next innovative energy technology that can realistically bring electric power to those Texans still left in the dark.

The University of Texas at Austin team won the competition with their presentation “Empowering Change in Texas Colonias” which proposed a Sun to Grid model as a transition technology with the ultimate goal of connecting residents to the electrical grid.

University of Texas at Austin’s winning team with our 2013 Corporate Sponsors!

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 & written proposals are attached below:

Directed by our mission, “Acting as a forum for high-quality information, tools, research and analysis, Power Across Texas balances the debate over the best way to ensure a clean, robust and reliable energy supply in Texas,” Power Across Texas believes the Energy Innovation Challenge can foster development of relevant new ideas towards addressing significant energy issues in our state.

Power Across Texas would like to use the Colonias issue as the opportunity to develop forward-thinking technology designs, financial models and policy changes to bring electricity to areas in Texas still in need and to spur “blue-sky” technology and financial models that can potentially be replicated in other areas that remain without access to power.

Click here to read more about the 2013 Texas Energy Innovation Challenge. 

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!