In a further boost to Austin Energy’s clean energy mix, the Electric Utility Commission unanimously recommended that the municipal utility go forward with a proposed contract with Iberdrola Renewables to get up to 200 MWs of coastal wind energy from their Kenedy Ranch project known as Peñascal Wind. The proposal would double Ibedrola’s current capacity, as Ibedrola currently serves power to CPS Energy in San Antonio and the South Texas Electric Cooperative. The proposal will now go to Austin City Council for final approval.
According to Austin Energy’s Michael Osborne, the price per megawatt hour will be in the $40 to $45 dollar range, competitive with natural gas. With the proposed additional 200 MWs from Ibedrola, plus the Webberville Solar Project and two previous wind contracts approved by Austin Energy last week, Austin Energy should be well on their way to meeting their city-approved goal of 35 % renewable energy by 2020. Importantly, Iberdrola has agreed to continue to use avian radar technology to curtail the wind power during migratory, low-visibility events.
In addition to the contract, the EUC held a three- hour public hearing on Austin Energy’s proposed rate increase. Dozens of individuals and organization presented their views, which for the most part felt Austin Energy’s proposal put too much of a rate increase on residential customers, and in particular, on those not using much electricity, the wrong message for a utility committed to a large energy efficiency goal. Sierra Club made its own presentation about how to align the rate case with our generation plan to grow renewables and lessen our dependence upon dirty coal. For more information about the rate case and our efforts to get Austin off coal, see this facebook page. Look for a fullscale website soon!
Cyrus Reed, Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club