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Tuesday, October 20, 2015 (Listed under Environment)
It may be hard to believe, but plans are underway to power a conservative Texas community with 100% wind- and solar-powered electricity.
Thanks to Ari Phillips's June 11th Climate Progress story, I had a sense that the Mayor of Georgetown, Texas was different than most. It's big news that Georgetown, located just north of Austin, will be powered by Panhandle winds and West Texas sunshine. It's also worth noting that the clean electricity produced there will travel on a $7 billion, 3,500 mile-long, intrastate transmission system. But what really captured my imagination when reading Phillips's story was that Georgetown's move to embrace a clean energy future came right down to the straight-talking, no-nonsense leadership of Mayor Dale Ross himself (also a skilled C.P.A.) and his adroit number-cruncher, Chris Foster, who serves as the City's Resource Planning and Integration Manager. When I cold-called Mayor Ross's office to request an interview, the Mayor and I were talking just minutes later.
"Chris ran the numbers for natural gas, wind and solar and realized that wind and solar were slightly cheaper. But it was the 25-year fixed price offered by the wind and solar power producers that tipped the scales. The natural gas company only offered us a 6-year agreement. With Georgetown's rapid growth and with top-flight, big-data centers looking to locate here, the price guarantees for wind and solar enable us to take a long view in our planning and not be distracted by the fluctuations of energy prices," the Mayor explained by phone.
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