U.S. Secretary of State cites U of Texas role in clean energy

Austin’s clean technology industry got some national recognition Wednesday with a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry who said improved energy technology is lowering the price of alternative energy and increasing infrastructure investments.

Kerry spent about 90 minutes at the University of Texas’ J.J. Pickle Research Campus where he met with energy industry executives and researchers after touring the laboratories in the Microelectronics Research Center. Several UT officials, including President Gregory Fenves, also attended.

The meeting was largely a briefing of Texas experts’ views on the grid and energy infrastructure, said Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, a Houston-based company that develops long-haul transmission lines to connect renewable energy sources.

The clean technology industry has grown significantly in the Austin area and it’s expected to continue expanding in coming years. The industry employs nearly 20,000 workers and contributes an estimated $2.5 billion to the Central Texas economy, according to an Austin Technology Incubator report released in mid-2015.