The Swiss Federal Office of Energy and swissnex San Francisco hosted the sixth edition of the Swiss-US Energy Innovation Days on October 6-9, 2019 in Austin and San Antonio, Texas. The annual event provides a collaborative networking forum where attendees from Switzerland and the United States can exchange ideas and explore energy innovations, strategies, market developments and policies. Almost 100 attendees participated in panels, discussions, site visits, and interactive presentations from industry, authorities, research and start-ups.
Dub Taylor, Director of the Texas State Energy Conservation Office and NASEO Parliamentarian, welcomed attendees to the event with an overview presentation on the state’s energy innovation policies and priorities. Following panel discussions and brief presentations on energy policy and innovation, attendees participated in a guided walking tour of the University of Texas at Austin (UTA) by Jim Walker from UTA’s Office of Sustainability. Attendees ended the first day with a networking reception that included brief pitches by American and Swiss start-ups and ended with dinner from the Peached Tortilla Food Truck.
The second day of the event included a site visit to the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), where attendees learned about the latest developments in the field of turbines, battery storage, and SwRI’s various public and private sector partnerships in the development of sustainability and climate strategies. Following the visit, attendees heard brief presentations on grid modernization modeling and planning and heard from Cris Eugster, Chief Operating Officer for CPS Energy, who discussed how the municipal-owned utility is planning and investing for the future. Attendees also heard from the head of San Antonio's Office of Sustainability on the city’s plan to be climate-neutral by 2050. The day ended with a tour of the new 12-story headquarters of Credit Human, a LEED-designed building currently under construction in downtown San Antonio that will include 2,912 solar panels and 150 geothermal piles.
The three-day event ended with a tour of Whisper Valley, a 2,000-acre master-planned residential-commercial mixed development community in Austin that is committed to sustainability, affordability, and cutting-edge technology. Once completed, the community will include 700 acres of parks and trails, village-type restaurants, retail, office areas, and two school campuses.