News from TEPRI – October 2020

Dear Friends of TEPRI,

As the pandemic wears on, we strengthen our resolve to deliver timely research and analysis that helps you make informed decisions about how to help serve the energy needs of those disproportionately impacted by this crisis.

As you’ll see from the updates below, our team is working diligently to develop and launch several initiatives to further our mission to inspire lasting energy solutions for low-income communities. There are several ways to get involved. Join one of our working groups, share our resources, or if you’re not already, please consider supporting TEPRI’s research by joining us as a member. By working together, we can pave the way to a more equitable energy future. 

Warmly,

Dana Harmon
Executive Director

ANNOUNCEMENTS

TEPRI Launching an Energy Opportunities Coalition


TEPRI is launching an Energy Opportunities Coalition to catalyze economic renewal and opportunity through energy. This effort’s aim is to advance our collective work in targeting energy solutions for low-income and underserved communities with solution-oriented discussions and collaboration.

The coalition will have three advisory groups and three areas of focus: mobility, energy + health, and housing & DERs. TEPRI will supply original research and facilitate bimonthly roundtable discussions to identify opportunities for stakeholders to align in innovative ways. A steering committee for this coalition is currently nominating individuals to be included in each advisory group.

If you’re interested in being considered, please contact Dana Harmon at dana@txenergypoverty.org.

Texas ERP Ends, LIHEAP Available to Help

As of October 1, the COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program (ERP) is no longer protecting Texas residential retail electric customers from disconnections due to nonpayment. The ERP was originally created by a Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) order on March 26.

TEPRI’s latest blog post details the options that LIHEAP presents for those who continue to need support in the wake of discontinuation of the ERP. 

Read the full blog post here. 

Path for Low-Income Customers to Participate in Clean Energy Future

Former TEPRI Board member Michael Stockard published an article entitled “Equity in the New Energy Future” in the 2020 magazine for members of the Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP).

The article highlights barriers to energy equity that are likely to arise in a future that incorporates clean energy policies. It also suggests a path forward, exploring ways for low-income customers to participate in this new energy future as well as steps for energy service professionals to take to address inequitable energy.

Read the full article here.

Thoughtfully Measuring Energy Poverty

TEPRI recently shared a blog post regarding the difficulties of measuring energy poverty as shown by new research from The University of Texas at Austin.

The paper, published in Energy Policy Journal, highlights the merit of combining both objective and subjective metrics to identify populations affected by energy poverty.

Learn more about this new research in the full blog post here.

Houston Climate Week Features TEPRI on DER Panel

Houston Climate Week kicked off the implementation phase of the recently released Houston Climate Action Plan.

TEPRI was featured on the DER panel, helping to host the discussion on making energy equitable and efficient alongside leaders from CenterPoint Energy and Smart Energy Decision.

You can view the full discussion panel and all of the in-depth events from Houston Climate Week here.

TEPRI Executive Director Honored on Austin Under 40 List

TEPRI is proud to announce that our Executive Director, Dana Harmon, has been awarded the Austin Under 40 Award in the Energy, Mobility, and Transportation category. Honorees are selected for outstanding career achievements and dedication to their local communities.

Congratulations to Dana and the rest of this year’s honorees!

READ MORE. 

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

GoSmart Solar

In September, Big Sun Community Solar (managed by GoSmart Solar and CPS Energy) unveiled its latest solar carport located in San Antonio, Texas at the Farinon Business Center.

Through the Big Sun Solar Assistance Program, Big Sun Community Solar also expands solar access and energy burden reduction for low- to moderate-income (LMI) residents.

Learn more about their work here.  

Pecan Street Inc. 

Over the summer, Pecan Street Inc. hosted a series of discussions about race in the energy sector. TEPRI was featured alongside panelists John Hall, Fisayo Fadelu, and Diana Hernandez to explore the interplay of race and energy and discuss how we can make progress towards widespread energy equity.

You can view the webinars below:

How do race and energy intersect?
Why should we look at race and income as separate indicators in energy programs?

UPCOMING EVENTS

October 13-20: TACDC Policy Summit

Texas Association of Community Development Corporations (TACDC) is hosting the Texas Community Economic Development Policy Summit virtually on October 13-20 in a series of webinars.

You can register here to learn about evictions & rental assistance, COVID-19’s impact on real estate markets in Texas, what to expect during the 87th Texas Legislature, and more.

Registration is still open, enroll now!

November 10-12 / 17-18: 2020 Texas Energy Summit

The 2020 Texas Energy Summit will be hosted online, spread over five afternoons (Nov. 10-12 & Nov. 17-18). This year will focus on improving air quality and growing the Texas economy through expansion of renewable energy, transportation electrification, industrial innovation, and energy efficiency.

Texas Energy Summit will feature networking, 2.5 hours of plenary, breakout session content each day, and a keynote and/or plenary panel followed by 3-4 breakouts on topics introduced in the plenary.

TEPRI will be hosting a panel on Day 3 of the summit (November 12th) to discuss policies surrounding energy equity.

Register for the Summit here.

STAY CONNECTED

Career Opporunities 

TEPRI is actively searching for a Research Director. As a senior member of the TEPRI team, the Research Director’s responsibilies will include executing TEPRI’s research agenda, managing staff, leading external advisory committees, and supporting programmatic business development and grant management activities.

View the full job description here.

Why Join TEPRI?

The Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute is accelerating the move towards an energy system that is clean, distributed, affordable, and supports healthy thriving communities.

We are a collaboration of energy and social equity stakeholders working to inspire lasting energy solutions for all people in Texas. We work with teams of experts from inside and outside the energy sector to conduct research, build evidence, create tools for practitioners, and partner with local jurisdictions to demonstrate and test new models, programs, and policies that can scale for widespread impact.

Our work improves the systems that are needed to enable energy solutions to reach underserved communities so that their benefits may flow to those most in need.

Learn about our Membership Opportunities.