Austin decides on a solar plan Plan aims for 100
megawatts of solar power by 2020
By Tracy Dang
Austin City Council unanimously approved Austin Energy's latest proposed
strategic plan Thursday to deliver clean and affordable energy to the city
over the next two decades.
The planning effort was launched in October 2002 by General Manager Juan
Garza in order to meet the goal of
achieving 20 percent of Austin Energy's energy supply from renewable
resources by 2020.
"This strategic plan represents Austin Energy's recommitment to strategic
thinking and planning, and it signifies our commitment to the future," Garza
wrote in a statement.
The plan focuses on obtaining solar power, currently too expensive for the
city, according to city officials, by setting an affordable price and
offering it to solar-power companies. When and at what price solar power
could be purchased will be decided through future research.
The city's goals for solar-power usage include 15 megawatts by 2007, 30
megawatts by 2010, 50 megawatts by 2014 and 100 megawatts by 2020.
"Once solar prices reach the level determined as responsible and prudent by
the study, then Austin Energy will purchase the above amounts of solar
power," said Councilman Daryl Slusher.
The process for the strategic plan involves three phases: researching and
analyzing industry trends; reviewing Austin Energy's vision, mission and
values; and reviewing their progress towards stated mission goals.
"We developed a full-time executive team that met regularly over the last
year, and we have received a lot of feedback from customers and area
commissions," said Roger Duncan, vice president of Austin Energy.
The strategic plan outlined five objectives Austin Energy would focus on,
including customer satisfaction, sustainable economic development, system
reliability and financial integrity.
Austin Energy's last objective involves the renewable portfolio standard in
its Ten-Year Energy Resource Plan. The company wants to minimize cost while
maintaining flexibility to changes in customer demand, energy markets and
technology. The plan also proposes to close the Holly Power Plant in
December 2007, rather than 2009.
"What Austin Energy is doing is truly revolutionary," said Councilman
Brewster McCracken. "We want Austin Energy to become the first public
utility in the nation to obtain all its new and replacement energy
exclusively from clean energy and conservation."