Things have been busy this past week for CFACT at University of Texas, Austin! Austin Energy is proposing a new energy plan for the city in an attempt to balance affordability, reliability, and environmental stewardship. On face value, it sounds good but after the CFACT chapter researched a little more about the proposal (which will be voted on by Austin’s city council on April 22nd – Earth Day!) they saw that if the proposal is accepted, energy prices could sky-rocket and truly “green” jobs would be forced to leave the city. The proposed plan recommends reducing the energy the city receives from a coal powered power plant by nearly 25% yet coal is currently the most inexpensive and efficient way of producing electricity. To cut the use so drastically means higher prices for everyone – including college students. CFACT-UT supports alternative forms of energy (wind, solar, etc), but also believes clean coal is an inexpensive way to provide for the needs of the city as other more efficient technologies are developed.
As you can see from the pictures, they have done several things to help convey to the city council the need to include Clean Coal technologies in the city’s energy plan. Not only have they led an email campaign to all the members of Austin’s city council, but they have also spent the past few days conducting a survey on campus. Over 1,200 students at UT were asked, “Do you support the the use of clean coal technologies to provide for the future energy needs for the state of Texas and the city of Austin?” Over 79 percent of students answered YES. Many students surveyed expressed that they are incredibly interested in alternative forms of energy but also feel that making drastic changes to the current energy structure is not ideal because it would mean higher costs for them right now, and times are already tight when it comes to money.
UT-Austin CFACT is not done yet – they are excited to attend city council meetings, continue submitting emails and get letters to the editor’s published to tell Austin Energy and the city council why clean coal should be a component of the plan’s suite of technological solutions to provide energy for the city.