I just recently got interested in the whole energy/environment/efficiency/independence thing. I've had PV panels powering my ham radio shack for years, and I've been interested in home-scale alternate energy systems for quite some time (I was an original stockholder in Real Goods Trading Company when I lived in Calif. back in the day.) But I've just gotten interested in utility-scale issues due to all the climate change hype. I've been doing a lot of reading in the last few months, which is why I happened to have those two books you mentioned.
I'm flying to Munich, Germany next week where I am working with a German company building methanol fuel cells for military applications. I'm finding it quite interesting. I'll be retiring soon after 38 years working for the Army, and might want to look around a bit for a part time gig in the energy biz, just to keep my hand in. Good to know there's some activity in the Austin area.
I’m working on an energy forum that will involve the city now. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. If this is something that you are interested in...Austin will be where it is at. :)