Carlos St. James
Carlos St. James
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I’ve lived in Texas for fourteen years and have found a permanent home in Leander. My two sons are grown; one works in energy like his father, the other for an Alzheimer’s non-profit. My spouse is a native Texan with two daughters attending UT and a third living at Marbridge.

My undergraduate degree in is economics from DePaul University in Chicago; my master’s is in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University. Born in Chicago but have lived in Buenos Aires, Mexico City, London, San Francisco, and Austin. I have spoken at energy conferences in over three dozen countries across five continents, sometimes as conference chair or keynote speaker. In 2021 I was awarded the LAC-CORE Energy Award for my lifelong work to attract investment into clean energy technologies.

My career began in international banking with a focus on energy finance. I’ve financed nuclear power plants; spent years overseas helping harness the best local power resources in many countries: hydro power from rivers in countries like Colombia; wind energy and natural gas from the Argentine Patagonia; solar energy in the Chilean Atacama Desert. In Texas my focus has been on natural gas and wind: tapping into the resources that are in greatest abundance and lowest cost. I have also worked on rooftop solar frameworks and have learned that unless done properly to protect users, it easily backfires. Attempting to implement this with no prior experience is dangerous.

My leadership roles in energy-related institutions include:

In Central Texas I’ve worked for a large energy engineering firm, then later for Cedar Park-based Voltabox (now E-daptive), a manufacturer of energy storage solutions using lithium-ion technology. This in turn led me to become interested in working on the resiliency of energy infrastructure such as PEC’s. Far more needs to be done to protect our battered electric grid.

Upon moving to Leander, I was struck by my new community’s friendliness. How can you not fall in love with Leander? I was selected member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee, then to its Economic Development Committee, then member of Leander’s quinquennial Charter Review Commission. Seeing the city’s growing pains up close, I brought together a handful of local leaders to establish a new non-profit, the Leander Foundation: we raise money to take on projects so they don’t have to come from our taxes. Much of my own personal focus is to ensure conservation of the city’s oldest trees to further promote the city’s traditions -- and to create greater pride in our history. I also established Keep Leander Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful, as a mechanism to facilitate beautification projects.

I’ve never run for a board seat that required a public vote like PEC’s until the increasingly devastating power outages made me realize it must be addressed; not nearly enough is being done on PEC’s grid. People are suffering because of these outages. I cannot image a more pressing topic for the board to address.

And so I seek a position on the board of the Pedernales Electric Coop for District 2. I am well qualified to bring in rooftop solar and to address ways PEC can act on power outages. I have a three-part process addressing what needs to be done for our coop: a short-term, a medium-term and a long-term goal: (1) PEC must become far more active in helping its members when power outages take place; (2) the grid’s resiliency needs to be properly addressed so we have less outages in the future; and (3) it’s time PEC takes on a leadership role in the U.S. as a model electric coop. My website addresses this in detail.

Leander is destined to be an important city in Central Texas and deserves to have a clear and strong voice representing its interests.