NewEnergyNews: TEXAS CAPITAL TO ROPE IN WIND

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    Friday, November 30, 2007

    TEXAS CAPITAL TO ROPE IN WIND

    The cost of the wind energy purchase described here is very high. It would seem like a very bad investment if it weren’t being made by Austin, Texas, which has been ahead of the curve on energy and environmental issues for a long time. Austin expects the cost of fossil fuel electricity to go up so much in the next 15 years, driven by climate change-induced carbon costs and rising demand everywhere in the world, that this purchase will end up looking as smart as everything else the city’s utility has done.

    “…time will tell just who fell/And who’s been left behind…” Bob Dylan sang. Yes, it will.


    More wind blowing for Austin Energy; Utility to begin selling more renewable power in January
    Kate Alexander, November 21, 2007 (Austin American-Statesman)

    WHO
    The city of Austin, TX (Mayor Will Wynn, aide Matt Watson); city utility Austin Energy (spokesman Carlos Cordova)

    Clearly this is what those Austin cowboys have in mind.

    WHAT
    Through its GreenChoice program, Austin Energy funds New Energy projects and offers its customers the opportunity to incur a portion of the expense for doing the right thing by climate change and the environment through their utility rates. It recently more than doubled the amount of New Energy it can offer its customers with a big purchase of wind energy.

    WHEN
    - The utility will begin selling the new New Energy in January 2008. It has contracted for the wind power supplies for the next 15 years.
    - The new supply of wind energy allows the city to meet its February 2007 “Austin Climate Protection Plan” goal of having all city facilities powered by electricity from renewable sources 4 years ahead of its 2012 objective.

    A different kind of Lone Star.

    WHERE
    - The new wind energy comes from two West Texas wind farms.
    - Austin Energy already sells more New Energy than any other US utility.

    WHY
    - The utility has contracted for 225 megawatts of wind energy from the 2 windfarms.
    Austin Energy gets 11% of its energy from renewable sources. The city’s goal is 30% from renewable sources by 2020.
    - This newest GreenChoice electricity will cost 5.5 cents/kilowatt-hour. That puts the average bill at $55/month, $19/month more than a non-GreenChoice average bill.
    - This is the 5th batch of renewable energy the city has bought since it began the program in 2001 andit is 57% more expensive than the last (2006) batch due to rising costs in the wind energy industry. The city expects to do will with its purchase, however, over the 15 years of the contract.

    Costs are already leveling out and the US hasn't even started paying for its emissions. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Watson, for Mayor Wynn: "History demonstrates that, over the life of the contract, this will end up being an economic win for the ratepayers and the taxpayers that support municipal operations…"

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