Headquartered at The University of Texas at Austin, Pecan Street Inc. is a research and development organization focused on developing and testing advanced technology, business model and customer behavior surrounding advanced energy management systems.
Its flagship effort is the Pecan Street Demonstration, a smart grid research project in Austin’s Mueller community. The initiative began in 2008 as a community collaboration to spark the nascent “smart grid” market in Austin the way that the MCC and SEMATECH consortia sparked the region’s semiconductor and information technology sectors a generation ago.
Representatives of the founding members – the City of Austin, Austin Energy, The University of Texas, the Austin Technology Incubator, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and Environmental Defense Fund – enlisted the participation of nearly a dozen private companies to explore the technical, economic and policy implications of an energy system that relies on better energy efficiency, locally generated renewable energy and a new economic model for electricity utilities.
More specifically, the project gathers detailed information on energy and water use to help create a smarter and more efficient grid. Austin is a particularly fertile ground for smart grid experimentation because the city owns its utility.