The city of Georgetown, situated in a deeply conservative Texas county, has become a role model for smart energy investment. Under Republican Mayor Dale Ross' leadership, the city is planning to power itself with 100 percent renewable energy within the next few years by tapping into the Lone Star State's bountiful resources, including 150 megawatts of wind energy from north Texas and another 150 megawatts of solar from the state's far west. The city has also benefitted from the state’s $7 billion invesment in the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone program to build transmission lines which connect its urban centers to the far-removed wind and solar projects.
The city's investments in renewable energy makes sense on many levels: it's cheap, reliable, and sustainable. It also creates local jobs and helps attract tech and other companies that have are seeking price stability and renewable portfolio standards. But most importantly, as Ari Phillips reports for Think Progress, people "just don’t want to pay more for power". It's great to hear that once Mayor Ross explains the new setup to residents, "even the most skeptical and politically conservative, they tend to come around."
Congratulations to the Georgetown community, Mayor Ross, and the city's policy leaders on their vision and success. As Mayor Ross puts it, "Seems to me that the wind and sun will be out in Texas for many, many years."
GEORGETOWN, TEXAS – There’s a fast-growing city in Texas that also has one of the most progressive energy programs in the country — and it’s not Austin.
Located about 30 miles north of the Texas capital in a deeply conservative county, the city of Georgetown will be powered 100 percent by renewable energy within the next couple years. Georgetown’s residents and elected officials made the decision to invest in two large renewable energy projects, one solar and one wind, not because they reduced greenhouse gas emissions or sent a message about the viability of renewable energy — but because it just made sense, according to Mayor Dale Ross.
“This was a business decision and it was a no-brainer,” Ross told ThinkProgress from his office along one of the city’s main thoroughfares. “This is a long-term source of power that creates cost certainty, brings economic development, uses less water, and helps the environment.”
In a state better known for what it prospects for underground, Texas has one of the best aboveground renewable energy profiles in the country — especially west Texas, where the wind blows hard and consistently and the sun shines unabatedly. Texas also has its own electricity grid, which allowed state lawmakers to build the thing often lacking in the development of major renewable energy projects: transmission lines. As part of the state’s Competitive Renewable Energy Zone program, or CREZ, Texas has spent around $7 billion building transmission lines to make far-removed wind and solar projects accessible to population centers in the central and eastern parts of the state.
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