Last Friday, the 2015 Texas Energy Innovation Challenge (TEIC) took place at the Texas State Capitol building, where competing graduate students put imagination to work in addressing some of the ecological barriers to oil and gas development in Texas.
At the TEIC competition, Railroad Commissioner David Porter made a statement to participating graduate students and other attendees on the value of innovation by the Texas oil and gas industry. Porter noted that the energy industry in Texas works within a stable regulatory environment provided by the Railroad Commission which helps consistently make Texas the nation’s top oil and gas producer.
“Oil and gas is the backbone of the Texas economy,” stated Porter. “I’m pleased to see that young Texans are working to find innovative, practical real-world solutions to pressing energy issues, like water. The future of Texas looks even brighter thanks to these young adults.”
The TEIC event is the signature program of Power Across Texas (PAT), a 501(c) 3 non-profit. The goal of TEIC is to not only challenge energy development toward improvement in Texas but also to prepare diverse university graduate students for practical futures in the energy industry.
According to PAT, the 2015 TEIC is the third annual competition in which graduate students from inter-disciplinary academic programs at the major universities in Texas Compete. Students were challenged to help solve an existing energy problem for Texans through research and analysis. The participants in the challenge will be presenting both a written proposal and oral presentation to an august group of evaluators.
Teams of 20 graduate students from 5 different colleges competed for various scholarships offered by the PAT. The winning team received a $10,000 scholarship. The 2015 winning project came from the University of Houston. Runners-up included Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at El Paso and Texas A&M University, in that order.
This year’s major issue revolved around water use by the oil and gas industry. PAT administrators stated in the official challenge that water use by the oil and gas industry is expected to increase as a result of the shale revolution. Since 2011, Texas has experienced drought conditions while simultaneously dealing with an increasing population. “The potential for energy self-sufficiency will substantially depend on the industry’s success in developing integrated and sustainable water management practices,” stated PAT.
To find out more about the Power Across Texas competition, visit poweracrosstexas.com.