Georgia Power’s parent Southern Company (SO) is bragging about selling a 100 MW biomass plant to Austin Energy. Funny how SO’s press release doesn’t mention Austin Energy’s buyer’s remorse. Let’s see why Austin Energy should regret buying biomass.
Southern Company SO announced today that the nation’s largest biomass plant is putting electricity on the grid in Texas. Southern Company President, Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Fanning joined state and local dignitaries today at the company’s Nacogdoches Generating Facility to mark commercial operation for the 100-megawatt unit.
Austin Energy is receiving energy from the plant through a 20-year power purchase agreement.
The PR goes on about local jobs and taxes, which could have been produced through building solar or wind generation. How much did that biomass plant cost Austin Energy? Funny how that’s not in the PR!
The City of Austin owns Austin Energy, and the Mayor and City Council are its Board of Directors. Vicky Garza wrote for the Austin Business Journal 20 July 2012, Austin Energy’s buyers remorse for biomass,
Austin City Council Member Mike Martinez wouldn’t mind a do-over on the $2.3 billion, 20-year energy contract the council approved in 2008.
The contract calls for Austin Energy to buy the entire output from the Nacogdoches Generating Facility, a 100-megawatt wood-waste-fueled biomass power plant.
“When the contract was initially brought to Council, it appeared to be a good deal to help us reach our adopted goals for renewables,” Martinez said.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
$2.3 billion for 100 MW is about $23 per Watt. How does that compare to the 30 MW Webberville solar farm Austin Energy opened this year? Continue reading