The Tale of a Texas Town on 100% Renewable Energy

Seven years ago, the city fathers of Georgetown, Texas, decided that the town should rely on 100% renewable energy for its electricity needs. Georgetown is a small college town (pop. 71,000) about 25 miles north of Austin, Texas.

The town obtained long-term (20 years), fixed-cost contracts with a solar company and a wind company to provide electricity. The contracts were to buy nearly 900,000 Mwh per year. Georgetown’s average annual consumption is about 575,000 MWh with a peak of 145 MW, but they were thinking of future expansion. They could always sell the excess on the Texas energy market. Georgetown did remain connected to the Texas energy grid so they could buy electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear in case the unreliable solar and wind generation failed.

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But the shale revolution hit. Natural gas prices decreased and made electricity cheaper, but Georgetown was locked into higher contracted prices. They also had to sell the excess contracted electricity on the open market at a loss. This caused the city budget to run multimillion dollar deficits. Guess who paid? Georgetown residents are now paying electric bills of more than $1,000 extra per year. Had the city remained on the state grid, the residents would be paying electric rates lower than they originally paid before the city got “100% renewable” energy.

Read more from Forbes.

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10 Comments

  1. Do you think anyone in the party of death, open borders & racism (democratic) could comprehend this article? Grijalva & minions.

  2. “Noble intentions” sometimes result in penalties for all, especially the poor and those on a fixed income…who can probably no longer afford to live in this community.

  3. For almost 50 years, I have been an avid fan of “alternative” energy sources.
    Actually, longer because a short story by Robert Heinlein taught teen-aged me the advantage of off-grid power.
    But, about 1972, I subscribed to Mother Earth News and studied solar and wind energy ideas. And I found that, even then, solar was just too, too expensive, although, like other technology, as research continued and as the results became more popular, costs would, should, drop.
    Wind has been a source of energy, including electricity production, for decades, but not many companies were, at the time, still in business.
    Alcohol fuel excited me — and, no, not because I came from a land of moonshiners and Jack Daniel’s. Because it is — or was at the time — inexpensive and readily available for home creation.
    Then, naturally, governments got involved.
    Feds mandated corn be used to make alcohol — and not the drinking kind — and suddenly both food and feed got outrageously expensive. Obscenely expensive.
    But, purely by coincidence, of course, ADM and Cargill were getting bigger federal government subsidy checks, and both companies were, coincidentally, handing out bigger “campaign contribution” checks.
    There is no problem, or alleged problem, that government cannot make worse.

  4. I watched a program on discovery channel yesterday about ‘harvesting’ the power of the seas. Seems some outfit from france and other places designed, built and instqalled a large undersea turbine to generate energy based on wave/tide flow. Hundreds of millions spend to only have the program cancelled within days of getting it set up and ready to run. Seems the $$ were cut off so nothing happened and probably wont ever. More pie in the sky dreams and big $$ for the initiators.

  5. There was another cautionary tale, this time in the WSJ I think on Tuesday, about Falmouth and the installation of two large turbines. Spent $10 million, inactive now and they too a small town that could not afford the mess.

  6. This is a great initiative, though unfortunately, it can be expensive. As an industry, we need to improve our efficiency and costs to make renewable energy accessible to all.

  7. Does anyone think there were enough dinosaurs & fossils on this earth at one time to create a finite amount fossil fuels? The earth has been oozing oil for centuries. Oil & Gas are totally renewable & sustainable. It’s another hoax created by the left to keep us literally in the dark.

  8. Just wondering why the rates for TEP have not gone down with all this great ‘solar’ usage. They show on the evening news that x thousands of homes have been serviced by solar that day yet there is no drop in the electric bills we get and no I am not a solar person. Yet all over the schools, county building are installing this stuff so if its so great who is making the money and or where is the saving of $$ goiing. Saw an ad today for 60% off on installation! How can that company make any $$? Some even advertise no cost involved, so who is footing the bill? Answers that will never be addressed I guess?

    • Always remember the excess power that rooftop solar generates is sold back to TEP at retail rates and not wholesale rates.
      TEP is a legal monopoly which is guaranteed a certain percentage profit. If their costs go up, so does our bills.

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