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The Green Heart of Central Texas
Nestled in the center of Texas, the Greater Austin metropolitan area, comprised of 11 cities in five counties, is home to nearly 1.5 million people. During the last few years, this progressive capital city, already recognized as a center of technology innovation in a sophisticated cosmopolitan community, has been busy carving out a niché for itself in the clean technologies arena. With access to research institutions, talent, and incentives—and incubators and parks dedicated to clean technologies—Austin is positioned to become a global green leader.
A First for Texas: Clean Energy Park
Earlier this year, the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities (TFIC) announced that Austin will be the location of the first Texas Clean Energy Park (TCEP).
The first phase of the 140-acre development is a research park funded by a $600,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission. The second phase will be a business park for clean technology companies, such as the solar power company HelioVolt, which has the option to locate any of its research and development facilities and additional operations inside the park.
The National Biodiesel Board ranked Austin as having the highest concentration of retail biodiesel in the nation in 2006.
“The addition of the first Texas Clean Energy Park will provide excellent job growth opportunities for Austin as well as Central Texas,” says Jose Beceiro, director of Clean Energy, Austin Chamber of Commerce. “Developing efficient new clean energy technologies side by side with innovative applications will be significant in fostering development of the clean energy industry.”
The TFIC will partner with research institutions across the country, corporations throughout the industry and other experts within the field in an effort to develop Texas’ human resource and knowledge base. The addition of the TCEP raises the prospect of state and federal funding for talent and research development and brings in another positive asset for attracting clean energy companies from across the nation.
“As anchor tenant in the TCEP’s new facility, HelioVolt expects to be joined by academic and industrial partners in developing the future of smart, sustainable solar-powered architecture,” says B.J. Stanbery, founder and CEO of HelioVolt.
Austin Energy’s GreenChoice is the nation’s largest and most successful retail renewable energy program delivering more than 665 million kilowatts of electricity annually to nearly 500 businesses, Austin Independent School District and Austin City Hall. The municipally-owned utility has ranked first in the nation for its Green Power Program by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory based on total renewable energy sales. Austin Energy has plans to build the renewables’ share of Austin’s energy portfolio to 30% by 2020 and to build solar power’s share to 100 megawatts by 2020.
Austin’s Clean Energy Cluster
Here are some of the clean energy technology companies that already call Austin home:
• Active Power’s flywheel storage systems store kinetic energy for short-term backup power.
• Austin Biofuels has joined with Triple S Petroleum to expand the supply of vegetable-oil based fuel.
• AccuWater optimizes landscape irrigation using modeling and weather conditions.
• CleanFUEL USA is a global manufacturer of alternative fuel equipment for both propane and E-85.
• HelioVolt is a developer of solar-enabled power-generating building materials (BIPV).
• Xtreme Power provides energy-conserving power systems.
• TECO-Westinghouse Motor Co. produces next-generation technology for wind turbines at a facility in Round Rock.