You’d expect oil and gas industry associations to take their meetings to Texas—the state is known more for oil rigs than windmills. But that may be changing. The Austin area is hosting a series of sustainable energy conferences this year. First up was the American Wind Energy Association, which brought approximately 3,500 people to Austin for its national conference in May, making it the largest wind energy conference in U.S. history.
It was followed in June by the American Solar Energy Society, which was attracted by the area’s "real commitment to sustainable energy," according to Kathryn Houser, executive director of the Texas Solar Energy Society, in a press release. Other sustainable energy-related events on the roster: the Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair in September; the U.S.-Mexico Border Energy Forum in October; and the 16th National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Industry Growth Forum and the National Association of State Energy Officials annual meeting in November.
The city appears to be hoping this is the beginning of a trend: Nearly 20 state, municipal, non-profit and clean energy organizations have come together to form the Texas Sustainable Energy Network to promote new opportunities in this arena for consumers, businesses, and the government. In the meantime, in celebration of landing these events, Austin city leaders have declared 2003 to be the "Dawn of the Sustainable Energy Era for Texas."