Tag Archives: Austin

Where could we put utility solar in south Georgia?

Where could we find 380 acres for a 30 Megawatt solar plant in south Georgia? Here’s a clue from Texas.

Citizen Carol wrote for Texas Vox 6 January 2012, Austin Energy drought proofs its energy with new Webberville Solar Project

A number of years ago, the City of Austin purchased this land planning to install a new coal-fired power plant. When those plans fell through, a landfill was proposed for the site that now boasts 280 acres of solar panels with a view of downtown Austin along its horizon.
How about on the proposed coal plant site in Ben Hill County?

Of course, it doesn’t have to be that big, or all in one place. How about on top of a landfill? How about on the cotton fields next to Valdosta’s Sallas Mahone Elementary School? Energy to air condition the school instead of drifting pesticides, and profit to the landowner! How about at the airport? At the mall parking lot? On top of the new county palace? On the warehouses in Hahira?


30 Megawatt solar plant opens near Austin

While Georgia Power continues to block solar deployment in Georgia, Austin Energy forges ahead in Texas with a utility-scale solar plant.

Here’s their PR, Austin Energy Activates 30 MW Solar Farm,

AUSTIN, Texas , Jan. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Austin Energy along with Austin City Mayor Lee Leffingwell , and Village of Webberville Mayor Hector Gonzales today announced the activation of a 30 megawatt (MW) solar power plant located within the Village of Webberville, Texas . The activation of the power plant marks the first utility-scale solar deployment for Austin Energy and helps bring the utility one step closer to achieving a 35% renewable energy mix by 2020. It is the largest active solar project of any public power utility in the country, the largest active project in Texas and among the largest of all operating solar projects in America. The project was activated on December 20, 2011

The key was a PPA:

The utility-scale solar project was made possible through a 25-year solar power purchase agreement in which Austin Energy will purchase the energy at a fixed rate along with the renewable energy credits.
In Georgia, PPAs can be made with municipal governments, universities, companies, or even individuals, if SB 401 passes.

An opportunity for EMCs: Continue reading

Solar Booming Nationwide (so why not here?)

While the Wall Street Journal says biomass is a money-losing proposition, Stacy Feldman notes in Solve Climate News that U.S. Solar Market Booms, With Utility-Scale Projects Leading the Way:
America could add 10 gigawatts of solar power every year by 2015, enough to power 2 million new homes annually, industry and market analysts have claimed in a new report.
Continue reading

jsq VDT LTE pro Solar GA

The VDT printed my LTE today. It doesn’t seem to be online yet. Appended is what I submitted, annotated with some links and pictures. The last picture shows the solar panels on my farm workshop.


Re: Forester R. Wayne Bell’s points of May 20, 2010. (Hi Wayne; I’ll get those dibbles back to you soon.)

Where does Georgia Power say Albany’s biomass plant will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 95 percent? Biomass proponents usually say what Forester Bell says: trees are carbon neutral. That ignores the time gap between clearcutting and new growth. That gap from 15 to 100 years or more can produce a lot of CO2.

As a tree farmer myself, I know the pulpwood market is down in Georgia due to the recession and foreign competition. I’d like to be convinced that biomass is the new market we need, but the more I look into it, the more obfuscation I encounter.

Forester Bell seeks a study showing solar will work in Georgia. Georgia Power’s web pages (renewable energy -> solar -> solar potential)
include a map of Georgia’s Solar Potential, Continue reading

Solar Power and Georgia Power

As we’ve seen, the Center of Innovation – Energy defines solar as a southwestern energy source (see slide 9). That slide uses a version of this map:

I found that map on Georgia Power’s web pages. Meanwhile, here are Georgia Power Solar Projects. Hm, “a rooftop solar demonstration program”, “plans to install solar panels at schools in each of the company’s regions”, “showcase its technology”. Where’s the actual rapid deployment?

Meanwhile, Texas almost doubled its renewable energy generation between 2004 and 2006 and hasn’t stopped since. Continue reading

Encouraging New Energy Production Via Solar

While Georgia did little to deploy renewable energy, Texas has almost doubled its renewable energy source from 2004 to 2006:

How did Texas do that, and how can Valdosta and Lowndes County help Georgia catch up?

Some years back, Austin, Texas, which has been growing rapidly for decades, needed to find a way to produce more energy. Building a coal plant was not really an option for a city that had long sold itself as a home of green industry. Nuclear had a bad taste because in the 1980s Austin had been an investor in the South Texas Nuclear project, which had been late, over budget, never produced what it was supposed to, and had many political problems. So Austin settled on a new plan: instead of spending big bucks to build a dirty coal plant, use the same money to give rebates to homeowners and businesses for installing solar power. Big rebates: 75%, the largest, and among the first in the country. This made perfect economic sense, producing as much new energy as needed, without coal or nuclear, and distributed where it was needed.

Now Austin is trying a new wrinkle:

The Austin, Texas, city council has approved Austin Energy’s solar incentive program, which includes a new approach for commercial, multifamily and nonprofit customers. The new approach saves $2.4 million over the life of the program, according to the utility.
Continue reading

What’s a Green Job?

Green money is pouring into Austin, Texas, which now has to decide how to spend it. Sandra Zaragoza, writing in Portfolio.com, looks into what to do with it:
Last week, American Youthworks, a nonprofit aimed at at-risk youth, received $1.4 million in federal funds to build a green charter high school that will prepare students for jobs in solar-panel installation, green facilities management, and other jobs.

In the last few years, Austin Community College received $99,031 from Workforce Solutions for solar and weatherization training and, more recently, $59,800 from the Department of Labor to increase the number of women in green job training programs.

And ACC is hoping to bring more funding to Central Texas in federal grants. ACC is part of a group of Texas community colleges that have applied for $3.5 million in funding to build solar-energy training programs.

Education, solar, weatherization; who could argue with those things?

But do those functions create new jobs? Continue reading