Tag Archives: Julian Castro

Austin Energy: Green-ish

Blue Wing Solar (photo 2 of 3)

Image by Duke Energy via Flickr

Yesterday, the Alamo city dealt a serious blow to Austin’s somewhat greenish reputation. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro announced that City Public Service’s (CPS) Deely coal-fired power plant will shut down by 2018, and solar power contracts for the San Antonio area will replace the dirty energy and bring clean energy jobs.

CPS Energy has committed to meeting 20% of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2020, and reducing its peak demand through energy efficiency by 780 megawatts. CPS Energy recently began receiving power from a 14 MW solar plant in South San Antonio, and has signed a contract with SunEdison for an additional 30 MWs of solar power.

This is the first coal plant retirement in a state that leads the nation in greenhouse gas emissions. This is the first coal plant retirement in a state that dedicates almost half (47.8%) of all of its water withdrawal goes to thermoelectric plants.

To quote Biden, this is a big… deal. You know.

Meanwhile, the city of Austin continues to get its power from the Fayette coal plant in Fayette county, notwithstanding the fact that the plant has caused $200-300 million in health injury costs just in 2005 (According to the National Research Council’s 2009 Report, “The Hidden Costs of Energy”) and destroyed the livelihood of local pecan farmers. Go local, indeed.

The city of Austin is taking its sweet time on the Austin Energy Resource Generation and Climate Protection Plan, which was developed to “make Austin Energy the leading utility in the nation for greenhouse gas reductions” and meet certain clean energy goals, including 30% renewable energy by 2020 and at least 700 megawatts of energy efficiency measures.

The plan requires three studies with an expected completion date in 2012, including 1) exploring the possibility for phasing out the Fayette coal plant by 2020 2) increasing the energy efficiency goal from 800 megawatts to a possible 1000 megawatts 3) setting an onsite renewable goal for Austin (distributed solar).

There are six months left in the year 2011. The expected completion date for these studies is in 2012.  The city is focused on the rate case this fall, where the costs of installing half a billion dollar pollution control equipment on the Fayette coal plant (scrubbers) will no doubt be passed on to ratepayers. Apparently, we have to pay the coal plant not to contaminate our seafood with mercury.

Concerned? The Austin Sierra Club group meets every second Tuesday of the month at Scholtz’s garden at 6pm.

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SA2020 & CPS Plan For Clean Energy Future

San Antonio 2020
The New Energy Economy is an innovative new concept using cleaner energy resources and energy efficiency technologies to create economic opportunity in San Antonio.   Mayor Julian Castro and Doyle Beneby, CEO of CPS announced plans for bringing clean energy to San Antonio.  This occurred after years of debates between the Sierra Club and CPS–a battle that included lawsuits and compromises.  It was an amazing end to a new beginning for San Antonio.

Here are some related stories:

Mayor Julian Castro recommends a link.

www.texasobserver.org

At an event this afternoon at UT-San Antonio, Mayor Julian Castro announced a suite of green energy projects that he said would position San Antonio as the nation’s leader in sustainable energy.

We are living in exciting times, my friends, but we must remember to stay diligent.  Given the opportunity, the “powers that be”  will take the path of least resistance.  Our job is to help them stay on the right path by being involved.  We are an integral part of the process.  Our job has just begun.
Karen Seal, Alamo Sierra Club
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San Antonio Expected to Close Coal Plant

This happened!!!

Sierra Club and Partners celebrate with San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (second from right) and CPS CEO Doyle Beneby (back row, second from left)

Sierra Club and Partners Celebrate First Announced Closing of a Publicly-owned Coal Plant in Texas

San Antonio’s Deely Plant Expected to Close by 2018, Replaced by Clean, Solar Power

Monday afternoon, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is expected to announce that City Public Service’s (CPS) Deely coal-fired power plant will shut down by 2018. Additional solar power contracts for the San Antonio area will replace that dirty electricity and bring clean energy jobs to Texas. In advance of today’s expected announcement, the Sierra Club, SEED Coalition, and Public Citizen issued the following statement.

“Sierra Club and our partners extend our appreciation to Mayor Julian Castro and City Public Service CEO Doyle Beneby for their vision and leadership,” said Loretta Van Coppenolle with the Alamo Group of the Sierra Club.  “The people of San Antonio will reap the benefits of their decision to create a future with cleaner air and healthier lives.  Closing Deely coal plant and transitioning to a clean energy economy will be a tremendous benefit for San Antonio. ”

 

The announcements today confirm the new direction taken by CPS Energy which has committed to meeting 20% of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2020, and reducing its peak demand through energy efficiency by 780 megawatts. CPS Energy recently began receiving power from a 14 MW solar plant in South San Antonio, and has signed a contract with SunEdison for an additional 30 MWs of solar power.

 

“The new leadership at CPS Energy, the Mayor and the residents of San Antonio deserve credit for rejecting the initial love affair with the proposed nuclear plant, and instead embracing an alternative vision — more wind and solar power, a significant investment in energy efficiency, cutting-edge building codes, and the retirement of Deely.  We hope they can phase out Deely even before 2018,” said Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director with the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.  “Loretta Van Coppenolle played a powerful leadership role over many years of negotiations and considers that the deal might not have been struck with out the support and participation of the Alamo Sierra Club.”

Charles English and the Jefferson Heights Association of neighbors living near the coal plant, Cindy Wheeler and the activists of Energia Mia, Karen Hadden with the SEED Coalition (Sustainable Energy for Economic Development), and Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith with Public Citizen also played instrumental roles with Van Coppenolle and the Alamo Sierra Club, Reed, and Neil Carman, .

Environmental groups do not support the west Texas Summit coal plant that could be part of San Antonio’s plan.

“Any purchase of coal power from the proposed Summit coal plant should be conditional upon phasing out Deely,” said Ryan Rittenhouse.  “Furthermore, CPS should commit to running Deely’s two dirty coal boilers as little as possible leading up to the phase out.”

The CPS Deely plant is the first publically-owned coal plant slated for retirement in Texas.

Sierra Club has called for phasing out the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Fayette coal plant, which is partially-owned by the City of Austin. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign has also called for the phase-out of several privately owned coal plants:  TXU-Luminant’s Big Brown coal plant in Fairfield, the Martin Lake coal plant near Henderson , and the Monticello coal plant near Mount Pleasant.  Several recently permitted coal plants in Texas have been prevented from starting, and three, White Stallion, Las Brisas, and Tenaska face additional obstacles.

“San Antonio’s decision to phase out the Deely coal plant signals the beginning of the end of the coal-burning era and its associated air pollution and illness in Texas,” said Eva Hernandez, with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.  “We are ready for Austin to follow suit and for other municipal utilities, the electric co-ops, retail electric utilities, and indeed the State of Texas to move forward with our clean energy economy.  This is the way we will create more jobs while breathing cleaner air in Texas.”

 Contact:  Eva Hernandez, 512-299-1550

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Posted by Donna Hoffman

 

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