Monday, December 9, 2013

Judges & Volunteers Needed for Science Fest

A judge reviews a student's science project at the 2013 Austin Energy Regional Science Festival

The Austin Energy Regional Science Festival will take place Wednesday, Feb 19 through Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at the Palmer Events Center. We are looking for judges who can evaluate Elementary, Middle (Junior Division) and High School (Senior Division) projects, as well as volunteers who can help with registration, assist during judging or help check in projects. If you are interested in participating, please register on our website at

Junior and Senior Division Judging, Thursday Feb 20, 2014:

Students submit their projects in one of 17 science categories scientific categories,  covering both Life and Physical Sciences as well as Math and Engineering. Judging is competitive and we need subject matter experts to evaluate the projects.  Links to the abstracts will be made available the week-end prior to the fair.

Judging Qualifications:

Junior Division: Undergraduate (3rd year and above) and graduate students, as well as  people with either a degree or 3 years of experience in the applicable science category
Senior Division: Graduate students, people with either a degree or 5 years of experience in the applicable science category.

Elementary Division Judging, Saturday, Feb 22, 2014:

Each project will be evaluated on its own merit and receive either a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place ribbon. 
Judging Qualifications: Adults with a good general education and the ability to talk to young children

Volunteers are also needed Wednesday, Feb 19, to Saturday, Feb 22, 2014

For more information, please contact

Thank you for your interest in the annual Austin Energy Regional Science Festival!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Austin Energy Crews to Help Restore Power To North Texas Area Hit By Ice and Snow

Photo: Fallen trees such as this one in Plano were responsible for many of the area's recent outages.
Credit: Kevin Krause/Staff writer,

About 20 Austin Energy linemen and two Austin Energy contract crews from Pike will leave Saturday, December 7, for North Texas to assist in restoring area electric service. More than 250,000 customers experienced power outages there today due to an ice storm.

Austin Energy crews will work in the Plano area served by Oncor. Utilities maintain mutual assistance agreements to help each other duringemergencies, if available. The utilities requesting assistance pay for the costs incurred by responding utilities and contractors.

Austin Energy crews have assisted utilities in the past in other areas of Texas and in nearby states such as Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Monday, November 4, 2013

47th Annual Zilker Holiday Tree Installed Today

The Zilker Holiday Tree is standing tall for its 47th consecutive year, as Austin
Energy electricians and linemen construct the 155-foot-tall Austin icon today. Strung from Zilker's moonlight tower with more than 3,000 lights, it is visited each year by thousands and can be seen from miles away.

The tree will be lit the first Sunday in December in a public ceremony, then remain on from 6 p.m. until midnight every night until the end of the year. Winners of a children’s Zilker Holiday Tree art contest sponsored by the Austin Parks and Recreation Department will have the honor of flipping the switch to light the tree.

Photos from today's installation:

Good Progress Toward Energy Efficiency Goal

We are almost halfway to the goal of completing our second "conservation power plant" for the Austin community by offsetting 800 megawatts (MW) of energy use through energy efficiency by 2020. From 2007 through September 2013, Austin Energy has offset 365 MW, leaving 435 MW to achieve over the next seven years.

Our strategy to achieve the 800 MW goal includes an accelerated target mix of green building, energy efficiency and demand response products and services such as the smart thermostat program. These strategies also include services to capitalize on the growth of the electric vehicle market and other emerging technologies.

Our first conservation power plant was completed by offsetting 700 MW between 1982 and 2006.

Adding attic insulation is a common home energy efficiency improvement.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Heavy Rains Flood Substation and Nearby Fallwell Lane

Heavy rain deluged the I-35 corridor through Central Texas overnight into Thursday morning, with southeast Austin particularly hard-hit as Onion Creek and Boggy Creek rose swiftly, flooding property, damaging roads and causing outages to thousands of Austin Energy customers.
At peak, about 8,500 customers were without power. As rainwater runoff flowed across the Onion Creek Substation on Fallwell Lane and adjacent property, the substation was under several feet of water for several hours, as Onion Creek rose to its highest recorded level. In addition to trapping staff at Sand Hill Energy Center for several hours, the floodwater damaged fences, washed out parts of the roadway and downed trees. As water receded Thursday, crews were able to access flooded areas and restore power to circuits that were brought down during the flooding. The substation remained offline Friday as Austin Energy crews worked to clean up and assess the damage.
These photos were taken Thursday by Sand Hill Energy Center staff during the flood and the cleanup at Onion Creek substation on Friday.
Ground level view of Austin Energy's Onion Creek Substation near Fallwell Lane off Hwy 71 East. The mostly submerged fence in the foreground is 10 feet tall.
Heavy overnight rain caused flooding on Oct. 31, 2013, as water swept through the substation and Sand Hill Energy Center, washed out fences and part of the Fallwell Lane roadway that leads to the facilities.
View of floodwaters from Sand Hill Energy Center.
A gas company employee's truck was caught in the rushing water on Fallwell Lane.
An emergency helicopter pulled the trapped man from his truck.
This truck was washed away by the floodwaters.
View of the flooding as seen from Sand Hill Energy Center
The floodwater rose to waist height in the buildings (center of the picture) housing relay equipment at the substation.
The rains washed out fences and part of the Fallwell Lane roadway that leads to the Sand Hill plant.
More floodwaters along Fallwell Lane.

Chris Ayers sprays bleach water to wash out a relay cabinet that was flooded at the substation.

A crew ground lines before they can begin repairs Nov. 1, 2013, at the substation that had several feet of floodwater in buildings and equipment following heavy rain.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Safety Starts With Me" Rap Video Serves As A Safety Reminder

Crew members and staff of the Austin Energy Electric Service Delivery (ESD) Division recently made this in-house video to remind all employees about the utility's safety principles, focusing on the idea that 'safety starts with me.' 

The crowd-pleasing and super-hip lyrics and music are educational; the video debuted at Austin Energy's recent Safety Summit, a full-day training event for all employees within ESD. Link to YouTube:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Equipment To Help Power A Growing Downtown Austin

Inside a new electrical vault, Austin Energy crews move a transformer into place that will help power the "3 eleven" residential tower at 5th and Bowie Streets.
With the recent economic boom in downtown Austin, our crews are busy building vaults to house electrical equipment that will power new apartments, condos and other large projects. One of those vaults (pictured) will power the 3eleven apartment building under construction at 5th Street and Bowie. 

We are installing four large transformers at the base of the 36-story tower, three of which weigh 18,000 pounds. A specialized crane is used to lower these transformers onto heavyweight rollers, allowing crew members to roll the transformers into their designated space. We are also working on a similar project for the new ballroom and parking garage at the Hyatt Regency Austin on Barton Springs Road.

A specialized hydraulic lift is used to move the transformer into place.

One of four new transformers that crews are installing into an electrical vault that will help power the 3 eleven building, under construction.

The vault's Electrical Room houses switchgear, circuit breakers and other controls used to manage electrical current that passes through the vault to power the building.

The site on which the new equipment is being installed.

A similar vault will be constructed on the site of the Hyatt Regency Austin to power a new ballroom and parking garage.