The Pecan Street Project : developing the electric utility system of the future
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The Pecan Street Project (PSP) is a public-private initiative that seeks to establish the City of Austin and its electric utility, Austin Energy (AE), as leaders in developing the electric utility system of the future and clean energy economy. The four main components of the project are to: 1) develop a local, public-private consortium dedicated to research and development of clean energy technologies and distributed power generation; 2) open the city’s electric grid to act as a lab to test emerging clean energy technologies; 3) develop a new business model to ensure AE’s continued profitability; and 4) show the world how the new business and systems model can work. This report provides a case study of PSP and describes an analytical approach for evaluating projects, programs, and policies proposed by PSP working groups to develop a cleaner, more efficient electric system. This report includes a history of the project, discusses opportunities and challenges identified by PSP, and evaluates the potential economic, environmental, system, and other impacts of different project ideas through a technical analysis. This report concludes with a series of recommendations to PSP and identifies policy implications for the City of Austin, AE, other policymakers, and other electric utilities.
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