Austin Energy

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Austin Energy is the United States' 8th largest publicly owned utility, providing electrical power to more than 420,000 customers and a population of almost one million within a service territory of approximately 437-square miles, including Austin, Texas, Travis County and a small portion of Williamson County. Austin Energy has been providing electric service to customers since 1895.[1]

Austin Energy is a department of the City of Austin. The Austin City Council sets Austin Energy’s policies and strategic direction. Austin Energy uses a number of energy production entities. Most controversial of these is the nuclear component. The STNP was the subject of a binding citizen referendum (November 3, 1981) to sell Austin's part in the project. STNP went online in 1986. No council has sold Austin's STNP telling citizens that "no one wanted our 16 percent".

Austin Energy returns profits to the community to fund other City Services primarily (firefighters and Emergency Medical Services, but also parks, and libraries).

Customers who buy photovoltaic (PV) solar panel installations are eligible for financing and monetary credits, applicable to their future energy bills. A vendor must be certified with Austin Energy's temporary Solar Rebate Program. Since 2010, Austin Energy’s contributions have totaled more than $100 million each year. For customers wanting to understand potential savings and learn about the benefits of switching to solar energy contact a local vendor certified within Austin Energy's temporary solar PV rebate program. [2]

Energy generation[edit]

Austin Energy’s total generation is nearly 3,000 megawatts (MW). The service area is powered through a diverse generation mix of wind power, solar power, biomass, natural gas, nuclear, and coal.[3] Austin Energy has a goal to achieve 35% of its energy supply from renewable resources by 2020, including 200 MW of solar with 100 MW installed locally. As of January 2014, Austin Energy's renewable portfolio is at about 25%. Additionally, Austin Energy has a goal to reduce carbon emissions 20% below 2005 levels by 2020. Austin Energy is considering options for reducing the output of the coal-fired Fayette Power Project to meet carbon reduction goals.[4]

Generation assets[edit]

Austin Energy owns and operates two natural gas-fired power plants in Austin: the Decker Creek Power Station and the Sand Hill Energy Center. The utility also owns 50% of units 1 and 2 at the coal-fired Fayette Power Project in LaGrange, Texas. Additionally, Austin Energy owns 16% of the South Texas Project in Matagorda County outside of Houston.[5]

Energy conservation[edit]

The Austin Energy energy efficiency program includes a portfolio of energy efficiency offerings for both homeowners and businesses. The program includes a free online Energy Audit that gives consumers feedback on their energy consumption and helps identify ways they can save on utility bills, among other features.[6] Multiple rebates are also available to both residential and commercial customers to help pay for efficiency improvements in homes and office buildings. In 1990, Austin Energy developed the nation's first Green Building program[7]Austin Energy Green Building. It shares the distinction of being the largest and best established green building program in the country along with Built Green Colorado in Denver.[8] Between 1982 and 2006, Austin Energy achieved its first conservation power plant of 700 megawatts. Austin Energy plans to offset an additional 800 megawatts through energy efficiency between 2007 and 2020.[9]

Electric vehicle program[edit]

Austin Energy’s Plug-In EVerywhere network, powered by 100% renewable energy, expanded to a total of 186 public charging stations to help drive a two-year, 300% Austin EV growth rate. Austin Energy led a 10-county, regional effort to develop a community plan that supports the adoption of EVs and successfully deployed the first-of-its-kind EV home charging Demand Response program.

Unit Fuel Capacity (MW) Install Year
Fayette Power Project (50% Share) Coal 602 1979 & 1980
South Texas Project (16% Share) Nuclear 436 1988 & 1989
Decker Creek Power Station Gas 927 1970- 1988
Sand Hill Energy Center Gas 570 2001-2010
Robert Mueller Energy Center Gas 4.6 2006

Renewable Resources[10] Fuel Type Installed Capacity (MW) First Operation Year Power Purchase Expiration Date
Sunset Farms Landfill Methane 4 1996 2021
Tessman Road Landfill Landfill Methane 7.8 2003 2017
Nacogdoches Power Biomass 100 2012 2032
Webberville Solar Project Solar 30 2011 2036
Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Texas Wind Contract Wind 10 1995 2020
Sweetwater Wind Farm 2 Wind 91.5 2005 2017
Sweetwater Wind Farm 3 Wind 34.5 2006 2017
Whirlwind Energy Center Wind 59.8 2007 2027
Hackberry Wind Project Wind 165.6 2008 2023
Iberdola Penascal I & II Wind 195.6 2011 2015
Los Vientos II Wind 201.6 2013 2037
Whitetail Wind 92.3 2013 2037

Pending Wind Projects MW Capacity Year Beginning Year Ending
Los Vientos III 200 2015 2040
Los Vientos IV 200 2016 2041


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