Environmental Excellence

Austin Energy Leads the Charge to Achieve Carbon-Free Electric Power

Pioneer. Innovator. Neighbor. Adopter. Investor. Protector. Community Partner. Leader. Each of these labels describes Austin Energy's commitment to environmental excellence.

Austin Energy is a Customer Driven and Community Focused utility with one of the most aggressive plans in the nation to reduce our carbon footprint. Austin Energy also partners with the community to help individual customers reduce their carbon impact and electric bills through energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, green power options, and clean transportation. By collaborating with customers, Austin Energy increases grid reliability and maximizing affordability through safe and responsible actions.

 

Planning Ahead to 2050

 
Planning Ahead to 2050

Austin Energy has a community-wide goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, as outlined in the Austin Community Climate Plan. Meeting these carbon reduction targets positively impacts the climate and quality of life for our community.

The benefits of reaching net-zero include reduced air pollution and improved air quality, a thriving local economy and reduced traffic congestion, greater affordability and improved disaster preparedness.

As a utility of the City of Austin, Austin Energy is a part of the City's action to build a more sustainable community. To reach the Community Climate Plan goals, Austin Energy worked with local city leaders to develop the Austin Energy Resource, Generation, and Climate Protection Plan to 2027. The Climate Protection Plan to 2027 and Community Climate Plan outline Austin Energy's strategies to keep rates affordable while pursuing environmental leadership and goals, including:

  • Meeting 65% of customer's electric use needs with renewable resources by the year 2027.
  • Saving 900 Megawatts of peak electricity demand by 2025.
  • Increasing the breadth of electric vehicle infrastructure to support more zero emissions vehicles. 
 

Leading Utility-Scale Renewable Energy

 
Leading Utility Scale Renewable Energy

Everything is bigger in Texas, including our utility-scale wind and solar farms. Austin Energy purchased power from the first commercial wind plant in Texas in 1995. In fact, Austin Energy helped create the wind power industry in Texas and is leading the development of the solar industry. Austin Energy is supplying more green energy than ever and is creating clean energy jobs along the way to support the economy.

Austin Energy uses Power Purchase Agreements to purchase the wind and solar energy produced at large-scale renewable energy farms across Texas, from West Texas all the way down to the Gulf Coast.

As Austin Energy works toward our industry-leading 65% renewable energy goal, we continue to add more utility-scale contracts to our portfolio. In Fiscal Year 2018, Austin Energy:

  • Supplied 38% renewable energy to meet customer needs, more than twice the national average of 17%.*
  • Purchased power from five utility-scale solar farms and seven wind farms across Texas.
  • Purchased utility-scale renewable resources with a generation capacity of more than 1,700 MW, including wind, solar, and biomass.

Renewable energy generation costs have come down significantly over the past 20 years, but production is still dependent on weather conditions, requiring sunshine and windy days. This can make generating renewable energy more challenging and costly. With this in mind, Austin Energy has proactively and strategically built a renewable portfolio over time to reduce the cost impact on customers, keeping our rates affordable while our power becomes greener. Austin Energy is also leading the way to incorporating emerging technology and energy storage to increase the reliability and sustainability of renewable energy.

See how renewable energy makes us more green and cost-efficient

*National renewable energy average reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration

 

 

Giving Customers a Greener Choice

 
Giving Customers A Greener Choice

For customers who want to choose 100% renewable energy, Austin Energy offers GreenChoice®, the longest-running voluntary renewable energy program in Texas. Commercial and residential GreenChoice subscribers add clean energy to Austin's grid every day when choosing to meet their electricity needs with 100% renewable Texas wind.

Each municipally-owned building in the City of Austin is powered by GreenChoice. The City of Austin was the first large municipal government in the U.S. to power all City-owned facilities with 100% renewable energy. Plus, GreenChoice wind powers every electric vehicle charging station in Austin Energy's Plug-in EVerywhere℠ charging network.

Over 20,000 customers subscribed to GreenChoice in 2018, which translates* to:

  • Removing the same amount of carbon from the air as 6 million trees.
  • Avoiding more than 350,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.
  • Relying less on fossil fuels, reducing air pollution, decreasing water usage, and growing green jobs in Texas.

Subscribe to 100% Texas wind energy with GreenChoice 

*The EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator is used to calculate equivalency numbers.

 

Helping the Community Embrace Solar

 
Helping Customers Embrace Solar

Austin Energy helps customers reap the benefits of the bright Texas sun. Customers can enjoy rebates and incentives to help reduce the cost of installing solar energy systems on their businesses and homes, or subscribe to Community Solar with no upfront cost, no maintenance, and no hassle.

Austin Energy's rebate and incentive programs have helped grow the local solar industry. As residential and commercial solar participation increases each year, homeowners, multifamily properties, nonprofits' and schools are able to install solar more cost-effectively.

Austin Energy also provides residential customers with the choice to power their home with 100% locally-generated solar energy through our Community Solar program. In 2018, Austin Energy expanded the Community Solar program with the addition of the La Loma Community Solar project operating in conjunction with the SHINES solar + storage demonstration project. Half of La Loma's production goes to Customer Assistance Program participants at a reduced rate, allowing low-income households to go solar while saving money from day one.

Browse our solar solutions for home and business

 

Empowering the Community to Reduce Energy Use

 
Empowering the Community to Reduce Energy Use

Perhaps the cleanest and least expensive power is the power not used. Energy efficiency saves customers money, advances the economy, and improves the quality of life while helping the environment. According to the Department of Energy, the average Austin Energy residential customer bill is the second lowest in the state of Texas. This is due to our commitment to ensuring affordable rates and our decades-long focus on energy efficiency.

Austin Energy strives to reach the goal of saving 900 MW through energy efficiency by 2025. Austin Energy is on track to meet this goal through a variety of programs, with rebates and incentives for residential, multifamily, and commercial customers who make energy efficiency improvements. Austin Energy equips customers with tips and tools to lower usage and maintain savings in the long-term. Additionally, community volunteers participate in demand-response programs that help consumers save money and keep the electric grid stable for all customers during peak demand. Popular energy efficiency and savings initiatives include:

  • Weatherization Assistance that helps income-eligible homeowners and renters save energy and improve indoor comfort with no-cost home energy improvements.
  • Thermostat Rebates for customers installing eligible Wi-Fi thermostats as well as customers who participate in smart energy savings events.
  • Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® rebates and resources for whole home energy efficiency improvements to help HVAC systems in homes more than 10 years old. 
  • Instant In-Store Savings available at local retailers for Austin Energy customers to enjoy while shopping for select energy-efficient products.
  • Austin Energy's Web App allows customers to monitor energy use and receive usage alerts to help with savings on electricity bills.

Reduce energy usage and save money with our rebates, incentives, and more

 

Seeking Sustainability in Building Construction

 
Seeking Sustainability in Building Construction

Buildings that use less power are more affordable to operate and have a smaller carbon footprint. The City of Austin created the nation's first green building program in 1990. Austin Energy Green Building is now one of the nation's most successful sustainable building programs, encouraging Central Texans to design and construct more sustainable homes and buildings.

Developing and maintaining our own Austin-specific rating systems helps Austin Energy carry out the City of Austin's ambitious climate protection goals. Austin Energy Green Building uses these ratings to pave the way for energy and building code changes to reduce building energy use.

Austin Energy Green Building contributes to our community-wide sustainability goals:

  • As much a one-third of all the single-family homes and apartments built in Austin each year are green-rated homes.
  • Since the program's founding through 2018, Austin Energy Green Building rated more than 15,000 single-family homes.
  • Most of the new commercial and multifamily buildings downtown and in large-scale developments are green building-rated.

Consider Austin Energy Green Building for your home or business building project

 

 

Plugging Customers Into Cleaner Transportation

 
Plugging Customers Into Cleaner Transportation

Since motor vehicle emissions are a leading source of air pollutants,* Austin Energy makes it easier for customers to say goodbye to gas and drive electric with zero-emission electric vehicles. Easy to use, easy to maintain, and easy to charge, electric vehicles are fun to drive and can save customers money while helping the environment. Austin Energy provides charging infrastructure rebates and services to improve convenience for drivers, businesses, and developers interested in including EVs on their property. Austin Energy also offers rebates for electric bikes, scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles to make electric transportation more affordable for anyone on the road.

Plus, since 100% renewable GreenChoice wind energy powers the charging stations in Austin Energy's Plug-in EVerywhere℠ charging network, EV drivers can help the environment in many ways.

In 2018, Austin Energy:

  • Grew the Plug-In EVerywhere network to more than 800 electric vehicle charging ports.
  • Supported drivers who bring more than 6,800 EVs to Austin roads.
  • Encouraged two-wheel electric transportation with more than 1,200 rebates.
  • Brought EV charging and education to local schools.

Drive electric and save on charging and more

*According to the United States National Institutes of Health

 
Did You Know?

Austin Energy's environmental legacy includes more than 20 years of commitment to renewable energy and a green path forward to meet our 2050 goals. Here's a look at our renewable past, present, and future:

  • Power purchased from first commercial wind plant in Texas in 1995.
  • Investment in the largest solar installation in Texas at 30 MW in 2011.
  • GreenChoice wind power available for residential and commercial customers.
  • Contracts signed in 2015 added 454.5 MW of solar power to Austin Energy's supply in FY 2018.
  • 2.8 MW of community solar power available for residential customers who cannot install home solar energy systems.
  • Helping more than 8,000 customers install solar energy systems for their home and business through 2018. Demand for home solar energy systems continues to rise, and Austin Energy expects to have more than 10,000 solar customers in 2019.
  • Supplying 38% renewable power in FY 2018, on target to reach 65% renewable power supply by 2027.

Learn More

Date last reviewed or modified: 4/29/19

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