For immediate release
Contact: Mike Sloan, 512-731-8740 | Mike.Sloan //at// PowerSmack.org
New Website to Bring Greater Transparency to Decisions that Shape Austin’s Energy Future
PowerSmack.org: Facts. Dialogue. Solutions
Austin, TX (July 29, 2009) – PowerSmack, a public interest organization founded by renewable energy expert Mike Sloan, today unveiled PowerSmack.org, a website whose mission is to increase transparency into major energy decisions that affect Austin. The site will provide objective information relevant to upcoming energy policy choices such as the pricing of green power and how Austin Energy will satisfy Austin’s future power needs – a choice that will shape our city’s energy future and represents the biggest investment of public funds in Austin’s history. PowerSmack.org will be a forum for policy makers (as well as those who would like to understand and influence policy) to discuss implications of those choices. And as the PowerSmack name implies, the site will foster bold new ideas – soliciting expert opinions to fairly evaluate what such ideas might mean to Austin.
“The first step in increasing the transparency in energy policy decisions is to make relevant and accurate information more accessible. Without that, it’s easy to make poor choices,” said Mr. Sloan. For instance, recent articles in local papers had been suggesting that wind power has become too costly to support a standalone green energy program (such as Austin’s GreenChoice). PowerSmack responded to this erroneous contention in a letter to the Austin Statesman, pointing out the real issue: that the price of GreenChoice power is high because its users are subsidizing traditional power generation costs and being charged for “green costs” that don’t now exist. Subjected to increased public visibility, Austin Energy has reexamined its pricing and has proposed a price reduction from the current level of 8.0 to 9.5 cents/kWh, to 5.7 cents/kWh. Visit the Featured Post section of the PowerSmack website www.powersmack.org for a summary of some key considerations which remain to be considered in the GreenChoice pricing decision now before city council.
This free website will also be useful to raise public consciousness regarding upcoming energy decisions. For instance, Austin is currently developing its energy generation master plan (Generation Plan) for the next 12 years. Although Austin Energy has spent considerable resources to educate citizens about alternatives, little attention has focused on the fact that Austin’s proposed plan does not reduce the use of coal power – an aspect seemingly inconsistent with Austin’s values and commitment to being the nation’s leading city on climate protection. PowerSmack.org will be a platform to raise the visibility of this decision to Austin citizens and to offer suggestions on how Austin can reduce its dependency on coal.
The PowerSmack team consists of community activists, journalists, multimedia and communication specialists who share a belief that we can do things smarter in energy policy and planning than we currently are. Mike Sloan, the founder of PowerSmack, is a respected leader in renewable energy policy. He was a key driver in the creation of Austin’s solar rebate program and award-winning GreenChoice program. Mike led the regional wind power trade association (WindCoalition.org)for eight years, helping Texas become the nation’s #1 wind power state. He has played an instrumental role in developing Texas’ widely-recognized renewable energy incentives and in creation of transmission policies that are serving as templates for legislation now being considered by the U.S. Congress (Renewable Electricity Standard and National Renewable Energy Zones).
To learn more about PowerSmack explore www.powersmack.org. To discuss the impact that issues identified by PowerSmack will have on Austin’s energy future, call Mike Sloan at (512)-731-8740.