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Kerry Visit Highlights Cockrell School’s Leadership in Renewable Energy

On a recent trip to Texas, Secretary of State John Kerry stopped by The University of Texas at Austin to meet with industry experts, UT Austin researchers and local business leaders about the advancements taking place in renewable energy in the Lone Star State.

Kerry’s visit to UT Austin’s J.J. Pickle Research Campus came a week after he signed a global agreement at the United Nations to reduce greenhouse gases and curb global warming. Kerry played a key role in the passage of the historic Paris Agreement, which is expected to have participation from more than 150 nations.

The visit gave researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering an opportunity to show Kerry the progress they are making in alternative energy and renewable technologies, from solar cells, to grid infrastructure, to biofuels. Kerry’s 90-minute visit started with a tour of the Microelectronics Research Center, led by professor Sanjay Banerjee.

Prof. Seth Bank tours the Microelectronics Research Center facility with John Kerry

Banerjee took Kerry, along with UT Austin President Greg Fenves and Cockrell School Dean Sharon Wood, on a tour of several labs, where he shared how solar cells are designed and produced. Kerry then participated in a roundtable discussion on energy and infrastructure with Texas clean energy business leaders and experts from the Cockrell School, College of Natural Sciences and LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Kerry completed his visit with a tour of the solar farm and UT Austin solar power systems, which supply power to the independent microgrid that runs the university. In a statement to the press before departing campus, he connected the research being done at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, and at other such facilities, to the Paris Agreement.

“I’m excited to be here today because of where I was last week,” he said. “The story of Texas’ energy transformation is one of the examples of where this world of ours is going and how economies are going to change over the course of the next years. Smart investments are in technology. We have the know-how, we have the savvy, we have the innovators.”