- The City Council of Austin approved a new generation plan for Austin Energy, the municipal utility, that raised its solar goal from 200 megawatts by 2020 to 950 megawatts by 2025. Of the new solar, 750 megawatts must come from utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar located anywhere on the Texas grid and 200 megawatts must come from PV within Austin’s city limits.
- The City Council also requried Austin Energy to issue a solicitation for 600 megawatts of utility-scale PV in 2015 and get it online by 2017 if feasible or by 2025 in any event.
- Austin Energy presently has a power purchase agreement for the output of the 30 megawatt Webberville PV array and has contracted with Recurrent Energy for another 150 megawatts by the end of 2015. The City Council did not provide new financial incentives or policies to drive new growth.
This completes a long debate between the City Council, Austin Energy executives, and local environmental groups over the city’s resource, generation and climate protection plan.
Of the 200 megawatts of solar obtained within the city, 100 megawatts must be customer-owned and 70 megawatts must be online by 2020.
The final decision is expected to help Austin cut its greenhouse gas emissions from power generation 75% to 80% by 2025.
The City Council decision supports Austin Energy targets of 35% renewables by 2020 and 55% by 2025. It also requires the utility to buy 30 megawatts of energy storage and consider up to 170 megawatts more.
The City Council also required closure of Austin Energy’s 1970's-era Decker natural gas plant by 2018 and the retirement of the coal-burning Fayette Power Plant by 2022.