From Green Right Now Reports
Texas A&M has created a lot of engineers and even more football fans. Now the school’s athletic department and licensing agents will be innovating in the energy field by creating Aggie Energy, a school-branded electricity service available in Texas, where most residents can choose their own power providers.
Can the Longhorns be far behind? In fact, they’re not. The University of Texas at Austin, an even bigger football powerhouse, has just announced that it too will be getting into the energy business with a similar plan. The proceeds of both programs will benefit the schools’ athletic programs, as well as academics and sustainability initiatives. (The Aggies say they’ll fund scholarships for Corps of Cadets. UT calls out sustainability initiatives in its announcement.)
Here’s how it will work at both UT and A&M: The universities’ athletics rights holders have partnered with Dallas-based Branded Retail Energy Company to create the new Aggie energy firm, Texas A&M Aggie Energy, and a new UT energy firm, Texas Longhorns Energy.
UT is kicking off its program first, starting in August. The Aggies program is set to begin Sept. 3. Both will neatly coincide with the actual kick off of football season — giving fans and former students the opportunity to buy their own school-branded electricity. The hope is that alumni will switch to these plans from other electricity companies, at least in Texas where residents have been able to choose their power providers since 2002.
Score one also for clean energy because the electricity provider servicing these new deals, Champion Energy Services of Houston, will be providing 100 percent renewable power plans through Aggie Energy and Texas Longhorns Energy.
Texas has become a leader in renewable energy because the state has a contained grid system, with supply and demand represented on the same system, and it has a relatively developed wind infrastructure, leading the nation in installed wind power.
Aggies officials said they hope that fans will find this new outlet an easy way to support their school, which is the 7th largest university in the nation with about 49,000 students and more than 350,000 alums spread around the world.
“We want Texas A&M former students and fans to save their energy up for Saturdays at Kyle Field this fall,’’ said Director of Athletics Bill Byrne in a statement.
The collaboration creating Aggie Energy is slated to stay in effect for five years. Rates have not been set but officials promise they will be in line with comparable renewable energy plans offered in Texas.
A news release from UT suggested that Texas Longhorns Energy may even offer better than average rates to customer clients because the partnership would not be spending a lot on advertising, as traditional electricity providers have in Texas, but would rely on the concept of alumni helping their school to attract customers. UT’s flagship campus, with about 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students, is the 5th largest campus in the nation.
“This truly is a revolutionary approach to energy marketing,” said UT Men’s Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds. “Not only will Texas Longhorns Energy be powered through renewable green energy, but the University will receive credit and funding for each customer who joins. This revenue will help continue UT Athletics and University efforts and programs in sustainability, recycling and energy conservation.”
Champion Energy Services CEO Scott Fordham also expressed great excitement about a program that braids together renewable energy, alumni loyalty and sports fan fervor.
“As a graduate of The University of Texas Red McCombs School of Business and as CEO of Champion Energy, I am honored to be in a leadership position to help bring this first-of-its-kind program to university supporters,” Fordham said. “I’ve been a 30-year supporter of the school, am on the Longhorn Foundation Advisory Council, and have been a life-long orangeblood. It’s truly exciting to be part of this unique opportunity that benefits the school and its fans via a product that consumers need and use every day.”