AUTHOR:Robert Walton@TeamWetDog PUBLISHED Aug. 21, 2017
The Austin City Council last week voted to target 65% renewable energy by 2027, one of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the nation and a step up from the previous 55% by 2025 goal.
The Austin Monitor notes that the city’s utility is on track to meet the 55% goal, and considered even higher targets — including 100% by 2030.
Austin Energy will study additional aspirational clean energy goals, including 75% to 80% renewable energy by 2027.
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Austin Energy will now target almost two-thirds renewable energy in its mix, but the progressive city clearly has its sights set even higher.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, hundreds spoke earlier this month in favor of 100% clean energy goal, but a less aspirational target was adopted amid concerns of rising energy prices. However, amendments to the plan direct the utility to examine the possible impacts of using more carbon-free energy.
“We are so fortunate that we are a community that debates stretch goals,” Council Member Leslie Pool told the Austin Monitor. “We challenge ourselves to do more.”
As more renewable energy comes online, Austin Energy has been adding battery storage to help with the integration. Earlier this year, Younicos signed an agreement with Austin Energy for a 1.75 MW, 3.2 MWh energy storage system. The storage system will be part of a Distributed Energy Resource Management System that aims to maintain grid reliability while allowing high levels of distributed solar PV penetration.
Austin Energy has a customer-focused business strategy that has been successful in helping keep rates low, thus far. In 2015, the utility’s residential customers had the second lowest energy bills of any utility in Texas.
The utility is targeting almost 1 GW of solar by 2025, including 750 MW of utility scale renewables as well as distributed generation.