‘Georgetown, Texas, is home to the oldest university in the Lone Star State and is affectionately called the “red poppy capital” of Texas. It will soon add another accolade to the mix: the state’s first city-owned utility to run on 100 percent renewable energy.
Last Wednesday, the city announced a 25-year contract with SunEdison to buy 150 megawatts of solar energy. In order to supply the power, SunEdison will build a solar farm in West Texas. The solar will complement a deal Georgetown signed last year with EFD Renewables for 144 MW of wind power from its West Texas wind farm through 2039.
Between the two sources, the city of about 50,000 people will have more than enough power even with projected population growth, said Keith Hutchinson, a spokesman for the city.
When it came down to it, Hutchinson said the price was right for renewable power.
“With renewables, you avoid the price volatility of fossil fuels,” he said. “We’ve certainly seen plenty of volatility in the price of natural gas and gasoline. This removes that uncertainty and locks in a long-term low cost.”
Georgetown is the latest city to join the renewables quest, which has been slowly growing across the country.
Technological innovations have dropped the price of wind and solar in some markets to be not only competitive with traditional fossil fuel power generation, but sometimes less expensive, said Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president of policy and government affairs for Advanced Energy Economy. In many other places, renewables are gaining ground quickly. Coupled with increased transmission infrastructure, favourable policies, subsidies, and renewable energy goals in states and cities, it’s becoming more common to see wind, solar, hydropower and biomass use.
By 2017, more than 13,000 MW of new wind energy capacity is expected to come online in the United States (ClimateWire, March 17). Solar grew 39 percent in 2014, according to the AEE 2015 Market Report.
As states consider cutting emissions 30 percent by 2030 under EPA’s Clean Power Plan, renewable energy is increasingly becoming part of the conversation, as well.’
March 26, 2015 by Brittany Patterson and ClimateWire
Full article here on Scientific America