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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Really good news from Austin, Texas

Great headline on this story from Environmental Leader:

City of Austin, Texas, Goes 100% Renewable

"The City of Austin, Texas, has become the largest municipality in the U.S. to power all of its facilities using only renewable energy.

And, a great story:  
As of Oct. 1 all of the city’s municipal facilities subscribe to Austin Energy’s GreenChoice renewable energy product.
In all, the City of Austin has bought about 400 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy. The City of Houston is the only U.S. municipality to buy more renewable power. However, Houston’s 438 million kWh accounts for just 34 percent of its energy use, according to an Austin Energy release.
The renewable energy will be produced at a wind farm in West Texas.
Figures released in May showed that Austin Energy sold the most renewable energy under voluntary green power programs of any utilities in 2010.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory figures showed that the energy company used wind and landfill gas to sell 754 million kWh of voluntary renewables in 2010."
So, we can see what is possible on a large-scale, city-wide basis.  We'd love to see the economics behind the decision:  What is the per-KW costs Austin agreed to; is that a fixed  rate; does that decision create jobs on the renewable energy side?
We are assuming that this was as much financially driven as environmental.  We love seeing the balance of the two, and reaffirming the good ROI generated by many of these investments.  What is keeping other cities from doing the same?
We will reach out to the government leaders in Austin and get them to tell us a lot more on a future show.
In the meantime, we applaud their investment in clean energy, and hope it becomes one of their cornerstones of future growth.

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