The Challenges Cities Face During the Transition to Green Energy

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The Voice of B2B, Daniel Litwin, was joined by Roger Duncan, a former research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.  Duncan also served as the general manager of Austin Energy, the executive manager of the Environmental and Conservation Services Department, and as an Austin City Council member.

Litwin and Duncan discuss the history of energy in cities over the past decades and how that transition has affected us today. Duncan shared his experiences from the past four decades of involvement in the city of Austin’s energy, transportation, and government sectors and how Austin had often been a leader in the shift away from fossil fuels for the state of Texas and the United States as a whole.

When asked about how the energy transition has been moving forward since the 1980s, Duncan replied, “In the past there was often a fight between the local governments and the private sector.” He continued, “You see less of that now,” in reference to the growing awareness of climate change and the overall public sentiment being more sympathetic to the use of renewable energy sources.

Duncan touched on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on renewables, noting that major infrastructure projects were largely unaffected due to the large investment and timelines of the project while the short term drop in oil prices had a direct negative impact on the sale of electric vehicles.  

Finally, Duncan shared insights into the challenges that cities face during the transition to green energy.  Municipalities often struggle with keeping current with technology, having the proper support in place for these advancements, budget pressures, and being able to maintain basic services in the event of energy breakdowns.

For more insight and information from Roger Duncan you can pre-order his latest book: The Future of Buildings, Transportation and Power.

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