Monthly Archives: November 2009

Not All Smart Grids are Green Grids

psp-logo-150pxNow we’re talkin’.  Austin is already known as one of the “greenest” cities in the nation, and it looks like we’ll soon be even greener – and smarter, too.

The U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Nov. 24 announcement of $620 million in “smart grid” demonstration and energy storage projects included $10.4 million for the Austin-based Pecan Street Project. The grant will be used to fund an advanced smart grid project at the Mueller development in central Austin. The Mueller neighborhood – a public-private joint venture between the City of Austin and the Catellus Development Group – is located at the site of Austin’s former airport.

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Posted in Climate, Energy Efficiency, Grid Modernization, Renewable Energy, Texas / Read 12 Responses

Austin Energy Contemplates Costs, Considers Customers

AE Fuel Rate graphicLast week Austin Energy formally recommended to the city council that it begin planning for the 2012 rate case that we’ve known about for some time. A confluence of circumstances, including workforce issues, new transmission, rising fossil fuel costs and decreases in revenue this past year have made what will be Austin Energy’s first base rate increase in 15 years (!) a real necessity. 

At this point only a few of the costs are known or even quantifiable, particularly the transmission and fossil fuel costs to the system. In looking at Austin Energy’s report, the cost for new transmission to bring more wind to Texas will be less – about 0.7¢/month for the average customer in 2015. If fossil fuel prices don’t increase more than they have over the past six years, the General Fund Transfer costs associated with fossil fuels might be only 0.4¢/kWh by 2015. Of course, that’s assuming that Austin Energy stays smart and doesn’t put too many more eggs in the fossil fuel basket. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Texas / Read 7 Responses

Texas Wind, Chinese Turbines

Maybe you read the reports from the renewable energy industry like I China in Texasdo, but just in case you missed it: China is officially staking its flag on the Texas wind market. Fortunately it can’t export the construction and installation of what will be one of the biggest wind power plants in Texas (and the U.S.), but China will be building all 240 wind turbines for this 36,000-acre project and shipping them here for installation.

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Posted in Renewable Energy, Texas / Read 10 Responses