United States

United States

Texas utility signs up 20 MW of wind

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Austin Energy, the municipal utility in the state capital of Texas, expects to have completed negotiations sometime this month for power purchase agreements with two wind companies for a total of 20 MW in installed capacity. Enron Wind Corp and Texas Wind Corp will together provide the 20 MW of wind electricity for Austin's new green pricing program, to be officially launched in January.

Enron and Texas Wind were chosen from a shortlist of five wind companies who had responded to the request for proposals. In addition to the new wind, Austin will also buy the output from 25 MW of landfill gas plant.

Response to the green pricing program is expected to be good. The utility started preliminary negotiations with its first potential major commercial customer in late September and was immediately confident the talks would lead to the first sign-up, according to the utility's Mark Kapner. Austin Energy, serving 300,000 residential customers and 30,000 non-residential customers, was given the go-ahead for the program by the city council in early August.

The utility is also going a step beyond some other green pricing programs. It says it will match customer subscriptions dollar for dollar, which means a doubling of investment in purchases of pollution free electricity. If there is strong community participation, the utility says it is prepared to invest as much as 5% of its net income in clean power. Both wind farms will be built in Texas.

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