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By Mike Bendewald
Colleges and universities across the country are increasingly interested in purchasing renewable power. With falling technology prices and growing student interest, renewable power is fast emerging as a discussion topic among sustainability, facilities, energy, and finance officers. This is the case especially in Texas, where abundant solar and wind resources make the generation cheaper than elsewhere. To advance the discussion further, recently a group of colleges and universities gathered for a workshop at the LeCroy Center of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD).
The Texas Higher Education Renewable Energy Consortium—consisting of DCCCD, Texas A&M, Alamo Colleges, and University of North Texas—hosted the workshop for Dallas area institutions to understand resources that are currently available and to advance their understanding of the economics and contracting options. The workshop, which was run by Texas Energy Aggregation (TEA) through a contract with the Comptroller's Statewide Procurement Division, offered a compelling case for renewables:
“The consortium was first created in 2017 during a higher education sustainability conference, because we each had an interest in renewable energy but really had no clear path to move forward,” DCCCD Executive Administrator of Sustainability, Georgeann Moss explained, “so we formed the consortium and began working with TEA.” The workshop is the first of a series of webinars and workshops planned to educate colleges and universities. A recording of the first workshop is available from DCCCD. Moving forward, the consortium will be a committee under the Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability (TRACS), which has a mission to advance sustainability in Texas higher education.
TEA is the sole-selected provider of electricity sourcing services under the the Texas SmartBuy Contract 961-M2 awarded by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Statewide Procurement Division. Current TEA staff and advisors have extensive backgrounds in renewable energy procurement, including the creation of the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center.
TEA is available to help your institution navigate renewable energy procurement.
Bendewald is a veteran in the clean energy industry, working 10 years at Rocky Mountain Institute.
Texas Energy Aggregation, LLC (“Texas Energy”) is pleased to announce the hire of Michael (Mike) Bendewald, who joins senior leadership as chief operating officer. Mike comes to Texas Energy from Rocky Mountain Institute, a globally renowned non-profit focusing on the transition of energy use to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Mike will oversee the operations of Texas Energy, and will help State entities, schools, cities, universities, and others reduce energy costs and improve budget certainty.
“For the first time ever, Texas State agencies and other public entities who use the State energy contract have a clear method to compare and procure long-term, wholesale renewable power,” Texas Energy President and Founder TJ Ermoian said. “We are tremendously excited to bring Mike onboard to boost our collective experience and expertise with renewables, and to strengthen our ongoing partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute, which is the premier think tank for charting the path toward a clean, prosperous, and secure energy future.”
Mr. Bendewald’s work at Rocky Mountain Institute included U.S. commercial real estate consulting and education, launching a zero-carbon real estate development program in China, and managing a program that helps rural cooperative utilities buy more solar. Mr. Bendewald has also guest lectured for several years at University of Colorado Leeds School of Business. Texas Energy and Rocky Mountain Institute are currently partnering on a request for proposals for solar photovoltaics and battery storage, on behalf of seven Texas electric cooperative utilities and University of North Texas.
“The Texas electricity marketplace offers the perfect setting to use the competitiveness of renewable energy to reduce energy costs,” Bendewald said. “I am very excited to join Texas Energy, which as the State-selected vendor is in perfect position to help State agencies and other public entities reduce energy cost burden and get on the path to a highly renewable future.”
About Texas Energy Aggregation. Founded in 2002, Texas Energy Aggregation has served the State of Texas through the electricity sourcing services contract since 2011. Netting taxpayers over $54 million in electricity savings for the four largest State agencies, Texas Energy has also saved millions of dollars for school districts, universities and municipalities. In 2014, Texas Energy was voted #1 in the nation for ethics, innovation, customer service and contract negotiation by The Energy Professionals Association. Over the course of three legislative sessions, Texas Energy founder TJ Ermoian spearheaded legislation and eventually shepherded passage of HB 1064, which has saved millions of dollars annually for small businesses, schools, churches, athletic and performing arts facilities throughout Texas.
Read the latest "State of the Electric Utility" HERE.
Texas Comptroller Awards Electricity Sourcing Services to TEA, Gives Nod to Renewables Including Serving Regulated Areas