Bracing for a Texas Summer Heat
As we brace ourselves for a hot and dry summer, we must continue to be mindful of our neighbors who may not be able to afford the cost of energy needed to remain comfortable in the pending scorching temperatures. As many of us are having very necessary conversations about tight reserve margins and spiking wholesale electricity prices, we know well that vulnerable communities can be hit the hardest by the impacts of peaks like we are expecting this summer. Thank you to all of you out there working diligently every day to make sure we address the needs of vulnerable households.
TEPRI has had a very active start of summer. We are please to welcome our latest member, GroupNIRE, to our expanding network, we’re putting the finishing touches on our year long Low-Income Communities Profile Project, and we are actively pursuing engagement in several projects across the state that will encourage greater access for LMI households in community solar projects. I also recently had the pleasure of participating in Rocky Mountain Institute’s eLab Accelerator program, and was thrilled to see unique, high-impact projects from across the country working to increase energy equity for low-income and disadvantaged communities. Thankfully, this issue is beginning to build real momentum, and we are grateful to all of you who strive to inspire lasting energy solutions for low-income communities.
Finally, as a result of the success of our Empowering Texas Communities conference this Spring, we will be convening a Low-Income Housing and Energy Advisory Council to further explore opportunities for cross-sector collaboration. Please contact me if you are interested in participating!
Spotlight On: GroupNIRE
The Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute is pleased to welcome Group NIRE to our diverse collaboration of power market participants focused on developing holistic and innovative approaches to advance the collective understanding of low income consumers and their relationships to energy.
“Our goal at Group NIRE is to create a more sustainable future for everyone, and becoming a member of TEPRI presents itself as a stepping stone for us to achieve that goal. We are excited to see what we can do together!” – Mark Harral, CEO
“We applaud Group NIRE for their vision to apply their expertise in technology commercialization to the LMI customer segment and thank them hardily for becoming our newest TEPRI member.” – Former PUC Chairman, and TEPRI Founder and Director Becky Klein
Policy Research Project
The UT at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs Policy Research Project supporting the Texas Low-Income Community Profile Series wrapped up last month. This year-long project allowed TEPRI and the PRP team to field a survey which received 2,020 responses from around the state of Texas. The survey data was analyzed and will be presented in a final report to be released later this summer. The report will present a thoughtful advancement towards better serving the energy needs of underserved populations by seeking to first understand the burden that energy costs place on low-income households, so that we can next help find practical, equitable solutions and develop a holistic approach to understanding the role energy can play on the path from poverty to self-sufficiency. Stay tuned for the final report this summer!
We are excited to be speaking at the NEUAC Conference on Wednesday, June 27th with Nat Treadway, Managing Partner at Distributed Energy Financial Group LLC (DEFG). Come check out our panel where we will discuss how renewable energy could be a game changer for those living in energy poverty, and provide an understanding of low to moderate income communities and methods of engagement.
RMI E-Lab Accelerator
Thanks to a sponsorship from The Energy Foundation, last month TEPRI was able to participate in the Rocky Mountain Institute’s E-Lab Accelerator in Sundance, Utah. This four day workshop focused on projects that create solutions that empower and improve the lives of low-income households and communities through integrated DER solutions. Dana Harmon joined a team focused on “Advancing Energy Equity for Renters in a Changing Energy Landscape” who utilized TEPRI’s Landscape Analysis.
Team members included:
- Sara Baldwin Auck, Interstate Renewable Energy Council
- Carmen Bingham, Virginia Poverty Law Center
- Tory Francisco, California Public Utilities Commission
- Jim Grow, National Housing Law Project
- Dana Harmon, Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute
- Amee Raval, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
- Maria Stamas, Natural Resources Defense Council/ California Low-Income Oversight Board
- Wayne Waite, on behalf of Energy Foundation
What We’re Reading
- Closing the information gap on Texans’ energy burdens – Environmental Defense Fund
- Low- and Moderate-Income Residences Can Help Modernize the U.S. Electric Grid – National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
- Social Equity, Affordable Housing, and the Net-Zero Energy Opportunity – Rocky Mountain Institute
- Our Powers Combined: Energy Efficiency and Solar in Affordable Multifamily Buildings – ACEEE
- Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Harder to Find, More Expensive in High-Poverty Neighborhoods by Green Tech Media