Texas is not widely known for its eco-friendly nature – but Austin has long stood apart from the rest of the oil-rich, frack-friendly state as a bastion of sustainability. Keeping with that trend, the city recently passed a law that lays out plans for Austin to add 950MW of solar PV in order to get a phenomenal 55 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025—a move that will cut carbon emissions from the city’s electricity generation by 75-80 percent.
To meet these targets, Austin Energy is looking to add at least 750MW of utility scale PV, and an additional 200MW of solar PV within the city limits, according to PV Magazine. Of this 200MW, at least half must be customer owned. In addition, infrastructure improvements—in the form of smart meters and smart grids—are expected to provide an extra 1200MW, reports Climate Progress. Lastly, “the plan calls for 10 megawatts of storage technology from batteries to thermal storage, with studies to be done on the possibility of bringing yet another 200MW online via that route.”
Adding to the good news is the fact that, with this increase in renewable energy sources, Austin Energy will also work to retire some fossil-fuel-fired facilities. The coal-fired Fayette Power Plant will be stepped down in 2020, and will go into retirement in 2022, while steam units at the Decker Natural Gas facility will be retired in 2018. Some have pushed for the natural gas plant to be scrapped entirely, but even with the plan as is, Austin is set to cut carbon emissions from the city’s electricity generation by 75-80 percent by 2025. And the expected rate increases for Austin’s residents? Two percent.
Via Climate Progress