Texas consumes almost 12 percent of all energy used in the United States. In 2005, Texas’ energy consumption of over 11,500 trillion BTUs exceeded that of California (8,400 trillion BTUs), the US’s second largest energy consumer, by 38 percent. A number of factors contribute to Texas’ leadership in energy use with a big one, the hot and humid climate that dominates much of the state, being responsible for a high demand for summer air conditioning.
Historically, Texas has been a national leader in the production of petroleum products, crude oil and natural gas, and in the generation of electricity. But in the early 1990s, consumption overtook production, forcing the state to increasingly rely on outside sources of energy to meet that demand.
Enter the Texas Renewable Energy Education Consortium (TREEC), riding to the rescue (sorry, I couldn’t help myself ! ). It is the mission of a group of Texas colleges to investigate, develop, and teach curricula dedicated to post-secondary education in emerging energy technologies to meet the demand of the Texas Workforce. The mission includes creating seamless pathways for education from secondary to post-secondary and university education. It is a goal of TREEC to position Texas as a leader in renewable and sustainable energy commercialization through education.
The consortium of institutions include:
Houston Community College Northeast
Lamar Institute of Technology
St. Philip’s College
Texas State Technical College Waco
Texas State Technical College West Texas
Austin Community College
» Fuel Cell Technology w/Texas Skill Standards endorsement
» Large Wind Technology
» Energy Education Programs
» Austin Community College Renewable Energy Specialization
» Current Renewable Energy Curriculum at ACC
Under Development -
» Solar (active PV and passive solar thermal)
» Solar will have Texas Skill Standards endorsement
» Power Efficiency
» Energy Conservation
» Combined Heat and Power
» Green Building Design
TREEC’s Summary: The potential for renewable energy in Texas is bright. Today, the state has the natural resources, cost-effective technologies and manpower to turn Texas into the dominant leader in the renewable energy industry. At this juncture, forward-thinking policies are critical to the establishment of a robust and sustainable renewable energy market. An increased focus on the renewable market would ultimately result in environmental benefits and substantial economic rewards to the state in terms of new business, more jobs, and overall growth in the economy. In addition, integrating renewable technologies and efficiency measures into the state’s current energy plan will help ensure a more stable energy future and reverse the trends toward an increase in imported energy sources through the development of the state’s renewable potential.
In response to concerns over the cost, availability, and environmental impacts of some traditional energy resources, Texas has taken a number of steps to tap into its vast renewable energy resource base. Texas has emerged as the leading state in the production of electricity from wind farms. Aggressive goals for solar energy development have been established by the city of Austin. In addition, energy efficiency efforts— including utility programs and building codes—are increasingly being relied upon to help reduce the state’s growing power requirements.
Sidney Bolfing, chairman of TREEC, said nearly 100 percent of graduates find jobs in the fuel-cell industry — many before graduation. “Typically all of these students get jobs,” he said. Bolfing is so confident in the idea that he markets green-collar careers to high schools and elementary schools. He hopes that the standard list of childhood dream jobs — astronaut, firefighter, police officer — soon will include things like wind technician and fuel-cell engineer. Even if there’s trouble in the short term, green jobs are needed to fight climate change and spur economic growth, “We need to develop these new technologies like there’s no tomorrow,” he said. ……… I concur, Sir !!
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