Austin Energy

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Austin Energy
TypePublic utility
IndustryElectric power
Founded1895 (1895)
HeadquartersAustin, Texas
Area served
Travis & Williamson counties, Texas
OwnerCity of Austin

Austin Energy is a publicly owned utility providing electrical power to the city of Austin, Texas and surrounding areas. Established in 1895, the utility is a department of the City of Austin and returns its profits to the city's general fund to finance other city services. Austin Energy is the United States' 7th largest public utility, serving more than 500,000 customers and more than one million residents (as of 2019) within a service area of approximately 437 square miles (1,130 km2), including Austin, Travis County and a small portion of Williamson County.[1]

Energy generation[edit]

Austin Energy’s total generation capacity is more than 3,000 megawatts (MW), provided by a mixture of wind power, solar power, biomass, natural gas, nuclear power, and coal.[2] All of Austin Energy's generation is sold into the ERCOT wholesale market; all of the retail load is served by purchasing power from ERCOT.[3]

Generation assets[edit]

Austin Energy owns and operates two natural gas-fired power plants in the Austin area: 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 La Grange and 16% of the South Texas Nuclear Project in Bay City (near Houston).[2] 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".

Unit[2] Fuel Capacity (MW) Construction Year
Decker Creek Power Station (Austin) Gas 927 1967–1978
Fayette Power Project (La Grange, 50% Share) Coal 602 1979–1980
Robert Mueller Energy Center (Austin) Gas 4.6 2006
Sand Hill Energy Center (Del Valle) Gas 570 2001–2010
South Texas Project (Bay City, 16% Share) Nuclear 436 1988–1989

Renewable energy[edit]

As of July 2014, renewable energy represented roughly 23% of Austin Energy's generation portfolio, which included wind, solar, landfill methane and biomass projects.[4] The utility's 2014 generation plan indicated that it aimed to produce 50% of power from renewable sources and 75% from carbon-free sources by 2025.[5] Since that time, new green energy generation assets have rapidly been brought online. As of August 2019, green energy had jumped to 43% of Austin Energy's generation mix, and by February 2020 included 1,425.6 MW of wind turbines and 644.6 MW of solar panels.[6]

Renewable Resources[4] Fuel Type Installed Capacity (MW) First Operation Year Contract 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
Roserock Solar Solar 157.5 2016 2036
East Pecos (Bootleg) Solar 118.5 2017 2031
Upton County (SPTX12B1) Solar 157.5 2017 2042
La Loma Community Solar Solar 2.6 2018 2043
Waymark Solar 178.5 2018 2043
Whirlwind Energy Center Wind 59.8 2007 2027
Hackberry Wind Project Wind 165.6 2008 2023
Los Vientos II Wind 201.6 2013 2037
Whitetail Wind 92.3 2013 2037
Los Vientos III Wind 200 2015 2040
Jumbo Road Wind 299.7 2015 2033
Los Vientos IV Wind 200 2016 2041
Karankawa Wind 206.64 2019 2034

On April 23, 2019, Austin Energy reached an agreement to purchase the Nacogdoches biomass facility for $460 million. Since Austin Energy entered into the 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with the biomass facility the price of natural gas has come down significantly. The purchase – one of Austin's single largest purchases ever[7] – is anticipated to allow the city to avoid $275 million in additional costs.[8]

Energy conservation[edit]

Austin Energy operates an energy efficiency program for customers, including a free energy audit that helps to identify ways users can reduce power consumption. The utility offers various subsidies and rebates for efficiency improvements, including HVAC, insulation, efficient lighting, and photovoltaic panels.[9]

In 1992 Austin Energy developed the nation's first local Green Building program.[10] It shares the distinction of being the largest and best established green building program in the country along with Built Green Colorado in Denver.[11]


Electric vehicle program[edit]

Austin Energy’s Plug-In EVerywhere network, powered by 100% renewable energy, expanded to 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.


  1. ^ "At-A-Glance". Austin Energy. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Power Plants". Austin Energy. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  3. ^ "May 31, 2016 Hearing in Austin Energy's Update of the 2009 Cost of Service Study and Proposal to Change Base Electric Rates". Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Renewable Power Generation - Austin Energy 2014". Austin Energy. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  5. ^ "2014 Generation Resource Planning". Austin Energy. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Renewable Power Generation". Austin Energy. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Austin Energy". Energy Star. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Green Building: Basic Information". Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Summary of Green Building Programs" (PDF). National Renewable Energy Laboratory. August 2002. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Assessing climate sensitivity of peak electricity load for resilient power systems planning and operation: A study applied to the Texas region". NSF. August 2020. Retrieved 21 April 2019.

External links[edit]