Local environmental activists ask district to further embrace solar energy

Bowen Wilder speaks to trustees Oct. 29.

Bowen Wilder speaks to trustees Oct. 29.

Representatives from nonprofit Environment Texas on Oct. 29 asked district trustees to promote solar energy and incorporate solar power at every district campus by 2025.


Emma Pabst, a clean energy associate with Environment Texas, said during a public comment session that the district’s 2013 bond package included $10 million that was earmarked for solar installation across the district.


“Five years ago, Austin ISD made a promise to voters that they would spend $10 million on solar,” she said. “We saw eight solar installations go up across the district, the largest Austin ISD has seen yet.”


However, about $6 million still remains for associated solar projects, Pabst said.


“Austin can be a dynamic example to fight climate change, and AISD has an opportunity to lead the way,” speaker Bowen Wilder said. “We already know the district cares about renewable energy projects and has taken significant initiatives in implementing solar energy in the last few years, but there is still room to improve.”


Wilder said investing in solar at campus schools, where space is available, could reduce operating costs and create a positive image of energy conservation for the district.


According to Environment Texas, 45 campuses in AISD currently have solar panels. A total of $20 million for district energy conservation was included in the approved 2013 bond, according to district documents.


After public comment, trustees Jayme Mathias and Ann Teich said they would like the district to report back on what bond money may remain from 2013 for energy conservation.

By Nicholas Cicale
Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016.


MOST RECENT

On a nearly empty South Congress Avenue, a resident plays guitar March 25. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Projections showing major Austin metro job losses also predict significant re-employment by end of 2020

The president of the economic strategist firm said, unlike during the 2009 financial crash, there are no systemic issues in the economy.

(Courtesy Lighter Loads ATX)
In the midst of coronavirus pandemic, one Northwest Austin organization continues to provide hundreds of showers for city’s homeless

Local nonprofit Lighter Loads ATX continues to serve the homeless population despite the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

A photo of two hands typing on a laptop
Dripping Springs ISD opts for pass or incomplete grading system for semester

In order to account for varying at-home resources, the district will issue pass-fail grades through the current grading period.

Austin and Travis County's orders went into place March 25 and require residents to stay home for everything but essential travel. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Unprecedented local relief fund will send millions of tax dollars directly to vulnerable Austinites impacted by the coronavirus

City Council directed half the funds to be sent to organizations that can provide direct financial assistance to Austin's most vulnerable residents.

Austin City Hall (Christopher Neely/Community impact Newspaper)
Austin will appeal court ruling that halted the city’s land development code rewrite

The city's attorney said an appeal could take up to 12 months.

Laura Huffman has been named the new president and CEO of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. (Courtesy Austin Chamber of Commerce)
Laura Huffman named as new president and CEO of Austin Chamber of Commerce

Huffman previously worked as a regional director for Texas at the Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit, and prior to that, she served as assistant city manager in Austin.

Abbott's order closes all state parks and historical sites effective 5 p.m. April 7. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
ROUNDUP: Parks closures for the Austin area

See the latest news about Austin-area parks closures in this Community Impact Newspaper roundup.

The Texas Workforce Commission's phone and online systems have been overwhelmed as measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus continue to have a crippling effect on the economy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More Texans have filed for unemployment in past three weeks than in all of 2019

For the second week in a row, more than 6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, according to federal data.

A photo of a finger-prick test being administered
Victory Medical now offers 10-minute coronavirus tests

The new finger-prick test gives results in a few minutes.

(Designed by Mel Stefka/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin-area health care centers receive more than $7 million from CARES Act

Three Austin-area nonprofit health care centers have been awarded federal grants totaling more than $7 million for coronavirus relief.

A photo of Walnut Springs Elementary School
Dripping Springs ISD extends registration period for kindergarten and pre-K students

First-time students now have until May 1 to be registered for kindergarten and pre-K.

At an April 8 press conference, Dr. Mark Escott, the Austin Public Health interim health authority, said emergency backup medical facilities will open soon in case local hospitals are not able to provide enough space for coronavirus patients. (Courtesy ATXN)
Austin, Travis County officials planning for up to 1.7 million coronavirus cases, 9,000 deaths in metro

Emergency backup medical facilities will open in case local hospitals are not able to provide enough space for patients who contract the coronavirus.