The Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association Conference will be held Nov. 3-5 at the Dallas Sheraton. This year's theme is “Shaping Texas’ Evolving Energy Markets.” Photos courtesy of TREIA.

Oct. 30, 2014

By Rita Cook

Renewable energy still seems like the new frontier but the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association Conference enters into its third decade this year. The 30th anniversary conference kicks off Nov. 3 with the theme “Shaping Texas’ Evolving Energy Markets.”  

According to Russel Smith, executive director of the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association, the conference will focus on how renewable energy will come into play in Texas’ current policy landscape as well as how lowering costs of renewable may be driving changes in Texas utility structures. This will also include a look at the role and future of energy storage and what could be ahead for electric transmission in the state.

“The conference theme will also take a look at the innovations in how renewable energy is marketed and financed,” Smith says, “as well as the nature and future of ‘the new Texas blend’ of solar, wind, natural gas and energy storage.”

According to Smith,  the energy industry – a growing Texas industry overall – is continually “growing, innovating and delivering ever increasing amounts of clean non-depleteable energy.”

Overall, Smith says the conference is geared toward energy industry leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and employees, small businesses owners and staff, local and state government officials and agency representatives, educators and researchers, as well as environmental and community advocates. 


With that theme in mind, speakers at the conference, which will be held at the Sheraton Dallas, include a heavyweight list of professionals in the renewable energy field including:  

• Bernard L. “Bud” Weinstein, associate director, Maguire Energy Institute and Adjunct Professor of Business Economics, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX;

• Karl Rábago, director, PACE Energy & Climate Center, PACE University, White Plains, NY;

Julia Hamm, executive director, Solar Electric Power Association, Washington, DC;

• Mike Greene, retired former Energy Future Holdings vice chair, Luminant president, ERCOT Board Chair and NERC board member, Dallas;

• John W. Ragan, executive vice president and president, Gulf Coast Region, NRG Energy, Houston;

• Rayna Handelman, National Association of Advanced Technology Batteries (NAATBatt), and Partner & Strategic Consultant, Angstrom, Dallas;

 Bill Muston, director of research, Oncor Electric Delivery, Dallas;

• Hala Ballouz, TREIA president and president, Electric Power Engineers, Inc., Austin.

With it being the 30th anniversary, Smith says special events at the conference can be enjoyed with the highlight being a luncheon program on Tuesday, Nov. 4, featuring Michael J. Osborne, TREIA's past president/cofounder and present chairman of the city of Austin's Electric Utility Commission and the Generation Resource Planning Task Force. Osborne will offer a “past, present and future” look at the renewable energy industry in Texas, and a TREIA retrospective.


Another standout regarding the conference speakers this year is the increasing involvement of women in leadership positions in the renewable energy industry. This includes prestigious professionals such as TREIA president and president of  Electric Power Engineers, Inc., Hala Ballouz and Melissa Miller, conference co-chair and president of Miller Wind & Renewables, LLC, to name a few.

“It's impressive to see that women are playing an important and vital role in the growth of Renewable Energy in Texas and in the U.S. and Worldwide,” says Esther McElfish, an active member who is helping to organize this year’s conference.  “As we all know, the oil and gas industry has made some progress with women getting into leadership positions, but it still remains pretty much a "good ol' boys" network there.”  


Smith bringing the type of conference and renewable energy awareness is important to the future of the Metroplex.

“The Dallas and Fort Worth metropolitan area is a major national center of business development and finance,” Smith says. “Its ability to continue to thrive is dependent in no small part to having access to affordable and reliable power. The region’s quality of life is directly impacted by the energy resources used to provide that power.”

Smith believes that renewable energy resources are increasingly making a positive economic contribution too.

“Renewable energy is a multi-billion dollar business sector today and is expected to continue its growth,” he explains. “The area’s financial community and the regions citizens stand to reap great rewards over time if they stay informed and engage in this burgeoning industry’s development. The Texas Renewables 2014 conference is designed to help meet that end.”

With no formal relationship between TREIA and the DFW-based North Texas Renewable Energy Group, TREIA does not have chapters, but is a non-profit organization comprised simply of a variety of cooperating organizations with common interests.

“TREIA takes part in representing all the renewable energy resource sectors; solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydrokinetic,” Smith concludes. “Its members are companies, organizations, agencies and individuals involved in, seeking to become involved in, or simply interested in learning more about the renewable energy industries. The Association advocates for, and provides information on the industry through its website, meetings, forums, conferences, newsletters, social media, public testimony and regulatory filings and other means of outreach.”

For details on Texas Renewables 2014 and to register on line visit

Rita Cook is an Arlington-based award-winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light, Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press. Contact her at [email protected].

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