I want to thank the American-Statesman for publishing the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s editorial concerning Georgetown’s move to 100 percent renewable energy. The city of Georgetown has been fortunate to receive coverage from across the world regarding our energy portfolio. One analysis shows that the move to renewables has garnered over 2.1 billion impressions around the globe, which is equivalent to a $20 million advertising campaign.
It’s refreshing to get some coverage that challenges the overwhelming support we have received. Our community started making the move to renewable energy in 2008. At that time, the city had a goal of 30 percent renewable energy by 2030. In 2010, Southwestern University approached the city to see what could be done to offset their energy use with renewables. As a city that values fostering relationships with our community and key stakeholders, we gladly contracted with AEP Energy partners to help accomplish this goal.
In 2012, Georgetown ended our contract with the Lower Colorado River Authority for energy, and we were free to purchase power in the open market. In our search for new energy sources, we had a few key goals: keep costs competitive, secure fixed-pricing, and mitigate risk. Because of our relatively small size — and because Georgetown was not contractually tied to a large coal or natural gas power plant — it turned out that contracting for 144 megawatts of wind power and 154 megawatts of solar power was the best choice for our city.
The decision to execute these contracts was predominantly a financial one. The city did not set-out to influence other energy providers or shakeup the state grid. We know that Texas is reliant on traditional sources of energy. We know it is impossible to track an electron produced in West Texas all the way to Georgetown. However, we also know that state attributes all of wind farm and solar farm production with Georgetown. Georgetown has been paying for 100 percent renewable energy since April 2017.
We simply wanted to provide predictable and competitive power to our customers. In fact, our move to renewable energy has been good for business and tourism in Georgetown. Our very own Rentsch Brewery describes its beer as, “Brewed with Texas wind and Texas water by Texas people.” I would argue that the decision to move to renewables is right in line with TPPF’s mission to “defend liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise.”
One final note: Others have already addressed TPPF’s brazen oversight of fossil fuel subsidies when highlighting concerns about renewable energy. However, if TPPF is really interested in the effects of renewables on birds, they will be flabbergasted to learn that house cats and cell towers kill exponentially more birds each year, according to a study. As a cat person and cellphone user, I plead with TPPF to not fight to take my cats and phones away.