October 22, 2010

Supported by a large demonstration grant from the US Department of Energy, the Pecan Street Project is a Smart Grid initiative led by a team of researchers from the University of Texas, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Environmental Defense Fund to develop and test an integrated clean energy smart grid in Austin. The Pecan Street Project is also actively supported by Austin Energy, the nation’s largest seller of green power and the first utility to create a green building code (which became the basis for the LEED rating system). Over the next five years, this Pecan Street Project team will deploy and test a smart grid infrastructure in 1,000 residences and 75 businesses in the new Mueller mixed-use urban village in central Austin. This City Forum presentation will include a review of the Pecan Street mission and the opportunities and challenges for Austin and other communities as smart grid initiatives arise over the next few years.

Brewster McCracken is Executive Director of Pecan Street Project Inc. (pecanstreetproject.org), a clean energy/smart grid research and development organization which involves the University of Texas. In 2008, he led the creation of the Pecan Street Project. Prior to this initiative, he was elected for two sequential terms to the Austin City Council and served for a time as Mayor Pro Tem. Through his elected position, he also served as a board member for Austin Energy. Mr. McCracken was the national development co-chair for the Congress for the New Urbanism’s 2008 Congress and is a founding member and board member of the CNU Austin-San Antonio chapter. He also led the team that drafted and implemented Austin’s Urban Design Standards and Mixed Use Ordinance. He was nominated for the American Planning Association’s Distinguished Leadership Award for an Elected Official for his efforts.

City Forum (soa.utexas.edu/crp/cityforum) is an urban issues speaker series hosted by the School of Architecture, Community and Regional Planning Program and the CRP Student Organization. City Forum is made possible with a grant from the Hogg Endowment for Urban Governance.

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