Renewable Power Generation

Mix of Renewable and Conventional Power Benefits Ratepayers

Austin Energy purchases renewable energy from wind, solar, and biomass facilities to minimize our impact on the environment.

At a time when technology cannot provide commercially-viable, long-term storage of renewable energy, Austin Energy must resort to a generation mix to offset costs of renewable energy and keep costs lower for ratepayers. Also, we must generate power from other sources (natural gas, coal, nuclear) to meet demand when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.

Generation Mix to Meet Total Austin Energy Load

The pie chart below shows the percentages of renewable and nonrenewable power being generated right now, in real time, as it relates to our customers' demand. All power produced and used is sold and bought through the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market. As of June 2019, Austin Energy's generation mix was at 43% renewable energy.

Much of the renewable energy produced is dependent upon the amount of available wind and sunshine, so the output varies from day to day and hour to hour. Refresh your browser periodically to see the most current percentages.

Note: Refresh your browser periodically to see the most current percentages.

Wind Power

Since the 1990s, when we began purchasing wind power, we have been able to add several hundred MW of generation capacity to our renewable portfolio. In late 2012, we began purchasing wind power from the Gulf Coast, which often produces strong output during peak electricity demand times in the afternoon throughout the year when generation is needed most.

Austin Energy is one of the few utilities in Texas buying significant wind power generation.

Solar Power

Since the 2010s when Austin Energy began purchasing solar power, it has added several hundred megawatts of generation capacity to our renewable portfolio. Solar produces power when generation is needed the most. 

Austin Energy's significant solar investment puts the utility on track to reach the Resource, Generation, & Climate Protection Plan goal of 750 MW of utility-scale solar ahead of the 2025 target. Combined with the utility's other renewable energy contracts, Austin Energy expects to meet 65% of customer energy needs with renewable energy resources by 2027.

Biomass

In Sacul, Texas, about 10 miles northwest of Nacogdoches, the largest biomass plant in the country can produce 100 MW of renewable energy for the Austin area. The plant creates carbon-neutral electricity by burning wood waste that otherwise would decompose and emit carbon compounds contributing to climate change.

Austin Energy acquired the Nacogdoches Generating Facility in 2019. No immediate changes to the operation of the facility are expected, and its long-term status will be addressed in Austin Energy's future resource planning efforts.

Utility-Scale Renewable Resources
Unit Name Fuel Type Installed Capacity (MW) First Year of Commercial Operation Contract Expiration Date
Biomass
Tessman Road Landfill Landfill Methane 7.8 2003 2019
Nacogdoches Power Biomass 100 2012 2032
Total Biomass   107.8 MW Operational    
 
Solar
Webberville Solar Project Solar 30 2011 2036
Roserock Solar 157.5 2016 2036
East Pecos (Bootleg) Solar 118.5 2017 2031
Upton County (SPTX12B1) Solar 157.5 2017 2042
La Loma Community Solar Solar 2.6 2018 2043
Waymark Solar 178.5 2018 2043
Total Solar   644.6 MW Currently Operational    
 
Wind
Whirlwind Energy Center Wind 59.8 2007 2027
Hackberry Wind Project Wind 165.6 2008 2023
Los Vientos II Wind 201.6 2012 2037
Whitetail Wind 92.3 2012 2037
Los Vientos III Wind 200 2015 2040
Jumbo Road Wind 299.7 2015 2033
Los Vientos IV Wind 200 2016 2041
Total Wind   1,219 MW Operational    
 
Total Renewables   1,971.4 MW Operational    
Date last reviewed or modified: 8/23/19

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