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 first chart shows the percentage of energy consumption that is supplied by renewable versus non-renewable resources. The second chart shows the breakdown of the renewable resource portion by generation type.

The amount of 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. The charts below depict incremental percentages of our renewable and non-renewable sources of generated power. As of July 2014, Austin Energy’s power generation mix was at 23% renewable energy.

Total Austin Energy Load
May 22, 2019, 7:42:00 PM CDT
Renewable Austin Energy Load
May 22, 2019, 7:42:00 PM CDT

Note: Refresh your browser periodically to see the most current percentages.

Wind Power

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.

Solar Power

The Webberville Solar Project  uses photovoltaic panel technology to generate renewable power that Austin Energy purchases and sends through the state’s electric transmission grid to serve immediate power needs. The system has a capacity of 30 MW and produces over 50,000 MWh of solar power annually, enough energy to power nearly 5,000 homes.

Austin Energy's significant solar investment puts the utility on track to reach the Resource, Generation, & Climate Protection Plan goal of 750 MW of utility-scale solar ahead of the 2025 target. Combined with the utility's other renewable energy contracts, Austin Energy expects to meet 65% of customer energy needs with renewable energy resources by 2027.

Biomass

In Sacul, Texas, about 10 miles northwest of Nacogdoches, the largest biomass plant in the country can produce 100 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 is purchasing all of the power produced by the plant over 20 years. The disproportionate expense of this organically-sourced energy, however, means that Austin Energy does not plan to invest additional dollars into biomass beyond the current contract.  

Utility-Scale Renewable Resources
Unit Name Fuel Type Installed Capacity (MW) First Year of Commercial Operation Contract Expiration Date
Biomass
Tessman Road Landfill Landfill Methane 7.8 2003 2019
Nacogdoches Power Biomass 100 2012 2032
Total Biomass   107.8 MW Operational    
 
Solar
Webberville Solar Project Solar 30 2011 2036
Roserock Solar Solar 157.5 2016 2036
East Pecos Solar (Bootleg) Solar 118.5 2017 2031
Upton County Solar 157.5 2017 2042
La Loma Community Solar Solar 2.6 2018 2043
Midway Solar 178.5 2018 2043
Total Solar   644.6 MW Currently Operational    
 
Wind
Whirlwind Energy Center Wind 59.8 2007 2027
Hackberry Wind Project Wind 165.6 2008 2023
Los Vientos II Wind 201.6 2012 2037
Whitetail Wind 92.3 2012 2037
Los Vientos III Wind 200 2015 2040
Jumbo Road Wind 299.7 2015 2033
Los Vientos IV Wind 200 2016 2041
Total Wind   1,219 MW Operational    
 
Total Renewables   1,971.4 MW Operational    
Last Updated: 4/1/19

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