Georgetown set to supply 100% green power by 2017

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — The city of Georgetown has reached an agreement they say will make them one of the largest municipally owned utilities in the United States to supply its customers with 100 percent solar and wind energy. The city recently reached a 150-megawatt solar power agreement with SunEdison that will begin in 2016 and expire in 2041. This agreement comes after 144-megawatt wind power agreement in 2014, which will last through 2035. With these two contracts, the city says all energy supplied to their consumers will be from renewable sources.

Banners marking Southwestern University’s 175th anniversary fly around campus and around town. For the last five of those years, the campus has been entirely powered by renewable energy.

“The two came together at the right time, and so in the process of negotiating, we wound up with a 100 percent wind power agreement with Southwestern University and the City of Georgetown,” said Bob Mathis, Southwestern University’s associate vice president for Facilities and Campus Services.

Now, the City of Georgetown is following suit. While Southwestern’s move was a student-led push for green energy, the city was simply searching for the most consistent, competitive rate.

“The 100 percent green option was just a side benefit of the fact we made a business decision for the most cost-effective resource, and it just so happens to be solar and wind,” said Georgetown Interim City Manager Jim Briggs. “With rate of inflation going forward, their actual price of energy is going to decline over the course of the contract.”

Mathis sees these renewable changes putting the city and university on the map.

“That vision would be for Southwestern University and the City of Georgetown to be the greenest city and university in the state — or the nation, for that matter,” said Mathis.

Both the solar and wind power will be coming from West Texas. City leaders said the two sources are compliments and typically peak at opposite times, helping ensure consistent service. The power from wind and solar is expected to be coming to Georgetown in late 2016 or early 2017.

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