McCracken Named Pecan Street Project Executive Director

Former council member to head smart grid group

Energy internet. Serious business.
Energy internet. Serious business.

With the legal wrangling that prevented former City Council member and mayoral candidate Brewster McCracken from heading the Pecan Street Project apparently resolved, today McCracken was named executive director of the local smart grid consortium.

McCracken takes the top post at the beginning of the year. Below, the press release.


Former Austin City Council Member to Lead New Non-Profit Organization as it Begins Implementation of Clean Energy Projects

AUSTIN – December 15, 2009 – Pecan Street Project, Inc., the organization created in August 2009 by the founding members of the original Pecan Street Project workgroup, has selected former Austin City Council member Brewster McCracken as its executive director. He will assume the role on January 1, 2010.

McCracken, age 43, joins the organization a month after it was awarded a $10.4 million Department of Energy “smart grid demonstration grant” for its proposed Energy Internet project at Austin’s Mueller neighborhood. The organization is also completing formal recommendations stemming from the collaborative research and analysis project that coined the Pecan Street Project name.

McCracken is not new to the Pecan Street Project effort. Together with representatives from Austin Energy, the University of Texas and the Austin Chamber of Commerce, McCracken recruited Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to spearhead the 2009 project and more than a dozen corporations, including Dell, IBM, Microsoft, Applied Materials, Freescale Semiconductor, GE Energy and others to devote staff resources.

The national search for executive director was performed this fall with pro-bono assistance from Scott Uhrig at Whiterock Partners.

“The Austin Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a founding board member of the Pecan Street Project organization and is excited to have Brewster McCracken serve as the founding Executive Director,” said Jose Beceiro, director of clean energy economic development at the Austin Chamber of Commerce and a board member of Pecan Street Project, Inc. “With Brewster at the helm, we will be able to continue our aggressive efforts in designing the energy system of the future and creating a new business model for utilities.”

“Brewster has demonstrated his commitment to this effort from day one,” said Isaac Barchas, director of UT’s Austin Technology Incubator and a board member of Pecan Street Project, Inc. “As the organization’s Federal Grants Manager, he played a key role this Fall in securing a $10.4 million grant from the Department of Energy, and his leadership skills will be key in driving the Pecan Street Project organization forward.”

“I think the Mueller project and the DOE funding have excited the community about what we can accomplish here,” McCracken said. “The Mueller project will certainly be a major focus of the organization. But we will be promoting other projects, pilots and recommendations across Central Texas that will help prepare our region for the dramatic changes in store for the energy industry. We want Austin to lead that change, and the Pecan Street Project can play an important role.”

About the Mueller Project

The demonstration project at Mueller will integrate with Austin Energy’s next generation smart grid platform to create, operate, and evaluate an open platform Energy Internet – a type of smart grid that allows two-way electricity and information flow and is modeled on the architecture of the Internet. Residential and commercial participation in the project will be voluntary. The Mueller neighborhood – a public-private joint venture between the City of Austin and Catellus Development Group, a ProLogis company – is located at the site of Austin’s former airport.

The Mueller proposal was submitted by a partnership of Central Texas energy experts, including Pecan Street Project, Inc., Austin Energy, The University of Texas, Environmental Defense Fund, The Austin Chamber of Commerce and the City of Austin. In addition, Pecan Street Project, Inc. will create a Technology Review and Advisory Committee with representatives from ERCOT, Bluebonnet Electric Coop, CPS Energy San Antonio and Pedernales Electric Coop.

The project will collect data and analyze the results against control groups and distribution feeder systems in other locations in the Austin Energy service area to quantify how the integration of these technologies impacts electricity usage and bills, the utility’s finances, environmental outcomes and overall system performance. About the Pecan Street Project, Inc.

The Pecan Street Project, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization created by the founding partners of 2009’s Pecan Street Project workgroup. Founding board members of the organization are: Roger Duncan, Austin Energy (Board President); Randi Shade, Austin City Council Member; Jim Marston, EDF; Dr. Tom Edgar, George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in Engineering, University of Texas; Isaac Barchas, UT’s Austin Technology Incubator; Jose Beceiro, Austin Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about the Pecan Street Project, visit

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Brewster McCracken, Renewable Energy, Environment, Pecan Street Project

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