News from TEPRI – December 2020

Dear Friends of TEPRI,

Our team sends you warm wishes for a peaceful and healthy holiday season. As we reflect on the tough year that has been 2020, it’s helpful to also remind ourselves of the progress we’ve made together.

I am very proud of the great work being done by our team at TEPRI, and I hope you’ll take a moment to check out some recent highlights below. We made good progress in 2020, and are positioning ourselves to make our highest impact yet in 2021. With the economic implications of the pandemic and our widespread focus on social equity, I believe this network will be called upon for our research, expertise, and capability to drive change in new ways and help improve people’s lives through energy.

During the holiday season, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress possible through this trying year. It is in this spirit that we say thank you and best wishes for the holidays and New Year. We look forward to serving Texas communities together in 2021!

Warmly,

Dana Harmon
Executive Director

ANNOUNCEMENTS

WELCOMING A NEW RESEARCH DIRECTOR

We are excited to welcome Tam Kemabonta to the TEPRI team as Research Director. Tam brings extensive experience in global energy poverty, renewable energy project development, substation communication engineering, energy policy, and electricity markets. He has worked for Black and Veatch, Xcel Energy, Fresh Energy, Microgrid Institute, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), and Great Plains Institute. He was also a member of the MN PUC Distributed Generation Working Group Technical Subgroup in 2018. He has published many papers, articles, and has filed technical comments before the MN PUC. He was a 2017 Clinton Global Initiative University Fellow and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientist Early Career Scientist 2019 cohort.

Tam will be responsible for developing and directing research efforts, initiatives, and managing relationships with strategic partners, both public and private, with respect to achieving TEPRI’s mission: to inspire lasting energy solutions for low income communities.

“In this position, I will give my all to ensuring that TEPRI as an organization inspires the development of lasting clean, reliable, and affordable energy solutions for low-income and underserved communities across the United States.”

We are excited to have Tam join our team to support TEPRI’s vision for a world with sustainable energy for all.

TEPRI’s ENERGY OPPORTUNITIES COALITION

Earlier this fall, TEPRI invited a diverse group of key stakeholders working in energy and equity to join together for the Energy Opportunities Coalition (EOC). This group has begun working together to identify opportunities in energy solutions that benefit communities most in need.

TEPRI research has shown that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequities in the energy sector already disproportionately affecting low-income communities.

The Coalition is led by TEPRI with the help of a Steering Committee made up of Ariel Drehobl, Policy Manager at ACEEE, John Hall, Director of Texas Energy Program at Environmental Defense Fund, Laura Morrison, Director of Community Initiatives at TxETRA, and Mike Stockard, Principal at Stockard Energy Advising. Our goal is to catalyze economic renewal through clean energy in Texas and beyond through solution-oriented discussion and collaboration. We are focusing on opportunities in three tracks: Mobility, Health, and Housing/DERs.

The first meeting of the Housing/DER group took place on December 3, 2020. The Mobility and Health groups are scheduled to meet the week of January 14 & 15, 2020.

If you are interested in joining this effort, contact Samantha Robledo, TEPRI Programs Director. 

NPR’S TEXAS STANDARD FEATURE OF TEPRI

TEPRI was honored to be a featured speaker on NPR’s Texas Standard this past October. Our Executive Director, Dana Harmon, spoke on the program about how energy insecurity has increased as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Dana communicated how household access to energy is essential to maintain health and well-being for all Texans.

Listen to the full podcast here.

TEPRI TO DEVELOP TRAINING FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROVIDERS

TEPRI is thrilled to have received funding from BBVA to design and develop a multi-jurisdiction clean energy training curriculum. Aimed at affordable housing developers and property owners, this education will focus on opportunities to benefit low-income communities by increasing deployment of solar and energy efficiency investments in Texas affordable multi-family properties.

The program is intended to lead to deployment of energy burden reduction investments in affordable housing, in coordination with other clean energy opportunities that may revitalize the physical infrastructure of LMI neighborhoods. The program will focus on geographic areas of Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth and may scale to other jurisdictions in Texas in later phases.

Thank you to BBVA for this award and we will share more as the program develops.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Sunrun

We are pleased to announce Sunrun as the newest supporting member of TEPRI. Sunrun believes in a sustainable future where everyone can access the power they need, whenever they need it. They offer power that is reliable, rechargeable, and affordable so it’s accessible to more families. Sunrun is a company that gives people the power to control their home’s energy, while reducing their impact on the planet.

“Our goal is to make sure everyone has access to affordable, clean energy. We are so happy to support Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute’s goal of ensuring policies that make clean energy affordable for low-income households. We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with TEPRI.” – Amy Heart, Sr. Director of Policy Sunrun

TEPRI is thrilled to have Sunrun join our growing network and we look forward to the expertise that their team brings to this important work.

If you are interested in learning how to support our mission and work, check out TEPRI membership opportunities here.

OUR WORK

14th ANNUAL BEHAVIOR ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE (BECC)

TEPRI Research Fellow Jacquie Moss co-presented with William Bryan from Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) our joint work entitled “Shared Data Metrics and Policy Frameworks to Advance Energy Equity throughout the South” at the 2020 BECC Conference this past December.

The BECC is a premier international conference focused on understanding human behavior and decision making and using that knowledge to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future. TEPRI is honored to have the opportunity to share our work and to support this event.

View the recordings of the 2020 BECC Conference here. 

RENEWABLE THERMAL ALLIANCE PROJECT

The Renewable Thermal Alliance (RTA), a public-private partnership initiated by NYSERDA, CT Green Bank, and Yale University, has emerged to coordinate efforts among 200 individual stakeholders throughout the US. The RTA’s challenge is to develop the infrastructure for large-scale deployment of renewable thermal technologies (RTTs) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy savings and fuel shifting.

TEPRI was commissioned by RTA to conduct a study to find the opportunities for Renewable Thermal Technology adoption in Harris County, TX by LMI households. Using previous TEPRI work in Harris County, we are evaluating if RTT’s were adopted, how they would reduce energy burdens, what existing programs could be used to implement them, and their potential for emissions reduction.

Find our published report from the RTA project in February.

STAY CONNECTED

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.