Friday, March 30, 2018

Transportation Transformation

Sometimes, in the spirit of blogging about things that are bigger than the parts, I seem to forget to simply share what I'm doing in my own world and life.  When I blogged everyday 14 years ago, it was not only easy but essential to talk about my projects.  With my reduced blogging schedule over the last 5 years, a lot of that has gone by the wayside.

But last night, as my mind was rolling like a bowling ball down an Olympic bobsled course, I realized that my current project deserves a little attention.

I've been working on it steadily since early last fall and it's coming together.

Last fall at the TREIA conference in Georgetown when Al Gore spoke, I invited several dozen folks to dinner.  At that dinner , we agreed to meet before the end of the year to kick off the new project.

My November letter said:

Dear Colleague:

Several months ago,  (OK it's been almost a year) it occurred to me that the time for a state wide organization to promote electric transportation is just about here.

With announcements coming from existing car manufacturers of their intentions to move their product lines toward electric drive,  and with whole nation states like China, India, and France announcing timetables to end combustion engines within their boundaries and cities, the message is not just on the wall, it's on the jumbo-tron.

In the mid-eighties, a group of us started the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association.  We knew back then that the time for Renewables was on the horizon. Today we have over 20 GWs of Renewable Energy  in Texas alone!  And it will soon be approaching 30 GWs.

And now it's time to begin to use that energy in our transportation sector.

In late October, I hosted a vision dinner in Georgetown to  introduce TxETRA  at the Al Gore TREIA conference.  About 40 folks attended. And from that meeting, about a dozen folks showed interest in making this happen.  I have also chatted with several dozen industry folks who also want to help make this a reality.  So, I am enclosing a very basic Power Point of the concept, our constituency, and our mission.

I have reserved TxETRA as an org, net, and tech. And if we don't like it, we can change it.

I am proposing that we schedule a preliminary organizational lunch meeting at the Austin Club in early December with a goal to convene the first organization meeting in early February.

You can help by sending me your suggestions for other groups and individuals we will need to make this happen.

Have a good turkey day



We met in December and created an interim board of directors.  With that board, we built up a good mailing list and began to meet over the last three months.  In the meantime, I got the corporate documents together and put together the TxETRA web site,

Then, in February, we made contact with a guy named Phil Jones.  He was a utility commissioner from the state of Washington and for a while was the president of  NARUC, a national organization for utility commissioners.  Interestingly, he was doing the same thing we were doing, but at the National level.

Also during this time, Tom Smith, the 31 year veteran executive director of Public Citizen asked if he could become the interim executive director.  Smitty and I have worked together for years, so this was not just music to my ears, it was a symphony.

Then we brought in Janis Bookman, the Earthday lady in Austin, who has a lot of contacts and expertise.

Now we are inviting folks to the Founding Meeting and Reception on April 6th at the Austin Club.

We have put together a board consisting of utility execs, transportation professionals, car and truck manufacturers, transmission companies, and academic heavy weights for UT and Texas A and M.  And thanks to Smitty we have folks who can represent the important equity issues that must be considered.

And thanks to a unique mixture of corporate, private, and foundation commitments, we will have the funding to hire a communication director.

We're hoping for a good crowd at the Austin Club.

Mayor Adler is coming and so is County Commissioner Brigid Shea.

And our guest speaker will be Phil Jones.

Sometimes things come together.

And the Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance is almost a thing.

And it needs to be.

Henry Ford built 500 cars in 1905.

He built 500,000 in 1915.

Elon Musk is on the same trajectory.

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