Renewable Power Generation
Mix of Renewable and Conventional Power Benefits Ratepayers
Austin Energy purchases renewable energy from wind, solar, and biomass facilities to minimize our impact on the environment.
At a time when technology cannot provide commercially viable, long-term storage of renewable energy, Austin Energy must resort to a generation mix to offset costs of renewable energy and keep costs lower for ratepayers. Also, we must generate power from other sources (natural gas, coal, nuclear) to meet demand when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.
Generation Mix to Meet Total Austin Energy Load
The pie chart below shows the percentages of renewable and nonrenewable power being generated right now, in real time, as it relates to our customers' demand. All power produced and used is sold and bought through the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market.
Much of the renewable energy produced is dependent upon the amount of available wind and sunshine, so the output varies from day to day and hour to hour. Refresh your browser periodically to see the most current percentages.
Note: Refresh your browser periodically to see the most current percentages.
Since the 1990s, when we began purchasing wind power, we have been able to add several hundred MW of generation capacity to our renewable portfolio. In late 2012, we began purchasing wind power from the Gulf Coast, which often produces strong output during peak electricity demand times in the afternoon throughout the year when generation is needed most.
Austin Energy is one of the few utilities in Texas buying significant wind power generation.
Since the 2010s when Austin Energy began purchasing solar power, it has added several hundred megawatts of generation capacity to our renewable portfolio. Solar produces power when generation is needed the most.
Combined with the utility's other renewable energy contracts, these resources move Austin Energy closer to 100% carbon-free electric generation by 2035 and to supplying 65% of customer energy needs with renewable energy by 2027.
In Sacul, Texas, about 10 miles northwest of Nacogdoches, the largest biomass plant in the country can produce 105 MW of renewable energy for the Austin area. The plant creates carbon-neutral electricity by burning wood waste that otherwise would decompose and emit carbon compounds contributing to climate change.
Austin Energy acquired the Nacogdoches Generating Facility in 2019. No immediate changes to the operation of the facility are expected, and its long-term status will be addressed in Austin Energy's future resource planning efforts.
|Unit Name||Fuel Type||Installed Capacity (MW)||First Year of Commercial Operation||Contract Expiration Date|
|Nacogdoches Power||Biomass||105||2012||Owned Asset|
|Total Biomass||105 MW Operational|
|Webberville Solar Project||Solar||30||2011||2036|
|East Pecos (Bootleg)||Solar||118.5||2017||2031|
|Upton County (SPTX12B1)||Solar||157.5||2017||2042|
|Total Solar||966 MW Currently Operational|
|Whirlwind Energy Center||Wind||59.8||2007||2027|
|Hackberry Wind Project||Wind||165.6||2008||2023|
|Los Vientos II||Wind||201.6||2012||2037|
|Los Vientos III||Wind||200||2015||2040|
|Los Vientos IV||Wind||200||2016||2041|
|Total Wind||1,795.64 MW Operational|
|Total Renewables||2,866.64 MW Operational|