Austin City Council approves new solar agreement to reach 51 percent renewable energy
December 14, 2017
Austin Energy will deliver to the grid enough renewable power to meet more than half of the electric needs of Austin Energy customers by 2020, company officials said Thursday. The projection came after the Austin City Council approved a contract that allows the community-owned utility to purchase the output of a new, 150-megawatt solar power plant, bringing the City’s solar capacity to nearly 800 MWs.
Austin Energy currently produces enough renewable power to meet 40 percent of its 475,000 customers’ power needs. With this latest addition, Austin Energy is expected to become 51 percent renewable in 2020. The agreement approved by the Council calls for the purchase of 150 MW from Intersect Power.
Adding to Austin Energy’s existing portfolio of carbon-free resources, the contract will bring Austin Energy’s utility scale solar capacity to 792 MW along with 1,400 MW of wind power. This solar contract also allows the utility to purchase an additional 30 MW provided it is feasible and has the same favorable economics.
The Intersect agreement will cost an estimated $10-12 million per year for 15 years. This agreement is projected to have a beneficial impact on customer bills based on current market prices and future price expectations.
“This purchase power agreement not only gets us closer to achieving the City’s renewable energy goals, but it’s also a good deal for our customers,” said Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy General Manager. “I am pleased that we can pursue this affordable project and continue to demonstrate economic and environmental leadership on behalf of our community.”
On Aug. 17, 2017, the Austin City Council approved the Austin Energy Resource, Generation, and Climate Protection Plan to 2027. The updated plan includes a goal of achieving 65 percent renewable energy use by 2027. As a part of that renewable goal, installed solar capacity would increase to at least 950 MWs by 2025.
About Austin Energy
Austin Energy, the City of Austin’s electric utility, serves more than 475,000 customer accounts and more than 1 million residents in Greater Austin. The utility’s mission — to safely deliver clean, affordable and reliable energy along with excellent customer service — has guided Austin Energy in powering the community and supporting the region’s growth since 1895. As a publicly owned utility, Austin Energy contributes more than $108 million annually to support important City services such as streetlights, parks, libraries and public safety. For more information about Austin Energy, visit austinenergy.com.