More than electricity
The Decker Creek Power Station, one of Austin Energy's power plants.
|Travis & Williamson counties, Texas|
|Owner||City 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.
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. 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.
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). 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||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|
As of July 2014, renewable energy represented roughly 23% of Austin Energy's generation portfolio, which included wind, solar, landfill methane and biomass projects. 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. 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, including 1.219 gigawatts (1,219 MW) of operational wind generation and 644.6 MW of currently operational solar power.
|Renewable Resources||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|
|Webberville Solar Project||Solar||30||2011||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|
|Whirlwind Energy Center||Wind||59.8||2007||2027|
|Hackberry Wind Project||Wind||165.6||2008||2023|
|Los Vientos II||Wind||201.6||2013||2037|
|Los Vientos III||Wind||200||2015||2040|
|Los Vientos IV||Wind||200||2016||2041|
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  – is anticipated to allow the city to avoid $275 million in additional costs.
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.
In 1992 Austin Energy developed the nation's first local Green Building program. It shares the distinction of being the largest and best established green building program in the country along with Built Green Colorado in Denver.
Electric vehicle program
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.
- "At-A-Glance". Austin Energy. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "Power Plants". Austin Energy. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "May 31, 2016 Hearing in Austin Energy's Update of the 2009 Cost of Service Study and Proposal to Change Base Electric Rates". AustinTexas.gov. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
- "Renewable Power Generation - Austin Energy 2014". Austin Energy. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "2014 Generation Resource Planning". Austin Energy. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "Austin Energy Renewable Power Generation - Sept. 2019". Austin Energy. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- "Austin Energy". Energy Star. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "Green Building: Basic Information". Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "Summary of Green Building Programs" (PDF). National Renewable Energy Laboratory. August 2002. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
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