News from TEPRI – December 2023


December 2023

A Note from The Executive Director
Margo Weisz

Margo Weisz with Shalanda Baker, Senate Confirmed Director of the Office of Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy

We have the power and we have the knowledge to build a 21st century energy system. 

This conference season, we have all been deep in conversations about how the changing and expanding energy landscape can address the specific needs of our neighbors who struggle with low incomes and other vulnerabilities. While attending the Gulf Coast Power Association (GCPA) conference in Austin recently, my mind was sparked by a phenomenal presentation. The speaker set forth a clear and concise vision for how we can optimize strategies already at our disposal to meet the fast-growing demand for abundant, clean, and reliable energy. I was so enthusiastic about the lucid roadmap that Doug Lewin laid out in this presentation that I asked him to present it again at our Energy Opportunity Speaker Series on December 14th. I believe it will be worth your time to join us!

Working in the Texas energy market isn’t always easy: it is diverse and chock full of different stakeholders with unique and competing interests. Our state has regulations and policies that need to be tweaked, infrastructure that requires upgrades, and innovation that needs investment. While there is still much work to do, we – as energy experts, as decision-makers, and as Texans – have the ability to chart a clear path forward.

As we explore how the newest energy innovations can be applied to serve households that struggle to afford clean and reliable energy, we are deepening our understanding of what our vulnerable neighbors are most concerned about. We know from our Community Voices Energy Survey that while households with low incomes in every corner of the state are concerned about cost, they are also concerned about outages, extreme weather, and access to clean and reliable energy. In 2024 we are going to explore a breadth of different energy innovations that are coming to market, such as demand response, batteries, and distributed generation technologies. We hope to better understand how these innovative tools may be applied to benefit underserved communities and expand access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy for everyone.

I want to thank our many friends and colleagues that are joining our aspiration to advance an energy landscape that serves us all. Joining us in this pursuit, we are delighted to welcome our new member, RGV Solar Systems, and our new board members, Hunter Hunt, KJ Feder, and Jonathan Kleinman, who each bring a wealth of experience and passion to our team.

Warmest wishes for the holiday season!


News From TEPRI

December 14 Energy Opportunities Speaker Series: Shaping a Just Energy Transition in Texas

Join us for the celebration of the year at our ENERGY OPPORTUNITY SPEAKER SERIES which is sure to be eye-opening. Curious minds want to know!

Shaping a Just Energy Transition in Texas

Thursday, December 14th

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Bass Lecture Hall in Lyndon B. Johnson School

University of Texas

As part of our Community Voices in Energy Speaker Series, the event will include a keynote discussion by Doug Lewin on practical insights into developing and enhancing statewide systems, ensuring equitable participation in the clean energy transition, and energy justice for households with low incomes. Doug will then be joined by CEER Executive Director Stefania Tomaskovic and new Pecan Street CEO Anissa Rodriguez Dickerman to address policies, strategies and insights from hands-on community-based engagement to ensure marginalized communities are integral to the clean energy transition.

TEPRI Publication Report: New Pathways for Equitable Solar Adoption in Texas

Hot off the press! As part of the Department of Energy’s Solar Innovation Energy Network program, TEPRI teamed up with Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES) and Frontier Energy to develop and pilot new pathways to increase rooftop solar adoption at no upfront cost to low-income households through the use of utility rebates and public programs such as WAP and LIHEAP. Our team developed pilot projects in two distinct electricity markets: Carrizo Springs in south Texas and Austin in central Texas. Our newly released report documents the process we followed and the lessons learned.

New Project Announcement: TEPRI Partners with Carter Wind on $20 Million Wind Manufacturing Award

TEPRI will be working with Carter Wind Turbines, a family-owned company, who has been awarded $20 million to bring hybrid wind turbines and energy storage systems to production to improve wind energy access in remote, rural locations. Carter will be constructing a new facility in Vernon, TX, which is home to a decommissioned coal plant, to produce innovative mid-sized 300 kW onshore wind turbines. The project anticipates creating over 300 manufacturing jobs, unlocking additional funding from the private sector, and engaging extensively with the community to negotiate agreements and invest in workforce development and diversity. TEPRI will be exploring a number of avenues for ensuring that the local communities benefit from the substantial economic investment.

RGV Solar Joins TEPRI as New Member

RGV Solar Systems has been providing rooftop solar to homeowners in the Rio Grande Valley for over 6 years.


“We decided to join TEPRI as a member to be more involved in our community and join a network of energy stakeholders who shared our belief in expanding clean and affordable energy,” shared Owner Isai Rodriguez on their support of TEPRI.

Board Spotlight

TEPRI Board Member Becky Klein Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award

We are delighted to announce that Becky was recognized during the Texas Energy Summit for her significant and meaningful contributions to the Texas energy landscape as the former Chair of the Public Utility Commission and for her leadership in forming TEPRI as an avenue to address energy cost burdens for our vulnerable neighbors. Congratulations Becky! Very well-deserved!

Member Spotlight: Dentons

During this Holiday season, TEPRI wants to send a special thank you to our member and legal advisor, Dentons. Peter Thieman, a partner in Dentons’ Energy practice, works with our Board of Directors as General Counsel. Dentons has provided pro bono services to TEPRI since our formation in 2015 showcasing their ongoing commitment to energy equity.

In Case You Missed It

TEPRI Webinar: "Planning for Energy Equity"

In September, TEPRI hosted a webinar entitled, “Planning for Energy Equity: A Preview of TEPRI’s Statewide Energy Survey,” featuring Dr. Bobuchi Ken-Opurum and Dr. Amanda Dewey.  The webinar focused on the strategic and data-based approach to addressing energy inequity across Texas and engaging in the community to identify growing energy needs.

TEPRI Joined the 2023 Texas Energy Summit

Hosted by Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, this dynamic event highlighted the intersection of air quality and energy systems, uniting individuals and groups from government, industry, academia, and non-profit organizations to explore and address pressing energy and air quality issues. TEPRI staff and leadership had the opportunity to present during four of the sessions:


  • Virtual Power Plants: Harnessing the Power of Small Source (Margo Weisz)

  • The Potential of the Inflation Reduction Act for Texas (Bobuchi Ken-Opurum)

  • Sharing the Benefits of the Energy Transition: Addressing Energy Burden (Andrew Robison)

  • Leveraging Texas’ Energy Expansion to Lower Bills and Create Jobs (Becky Klein)

TEPRI In The News

KERA News: "One Crisis Away Series"

Dr. Bobuchi Ken-Opurum was interviewed by Christopher Connelly, KERA News, for his article titled “Deadly Heat, No AC – and for Texas renters, help from local governments is hit-or-miss”.

We're Hiring

TEPRI is looking for a South Texas Energy Project Manager

TEPRI is seeking a South TX Project Manager (PM) with a deep interest in advancing an equitable energy transition through engaging community stakeholders in energy planning. As a senior member of the TEPRI team, the PM’s responsibilities will include building relationships with local governments, non-profit community organizations, academic researchers, and utilities throughout the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. The ideal candidate will have a strong creative and entrepreneurial spirit, an interest and understanding of the energy sector, and exceptional skills at building relationships with diverse people, including executives.

Do you know someone who would be a great candidate? Send them the full job description and steps to apply can be found here.


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