Commitment to GreenChoice supports carbon neutral goals
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its annual ranking of Top Green Power Partners. The City of Austin is fifth in the nation among local government purchasers of energy produced by renewable sources.
“This ranking demonstrates our commitment to supporting clean sources of electricity and is an important part of our efforts to fight climate change,” said Lucia Athens, Austin’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Our continuing commitment since 2012 to power all of our City facilities with renewable power helps lead the way to a sustainable energy future, as well as meet the community-wide goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.”
The City of Austin uses nearly 328 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually for its operations, which represents 100 percent of its total power needs. This is equivalent to the annual electricity use of nearly 30,000 average American homes. Austin's choice to use green power supports a commitment to achieve carbon neutral municipal operations by 2020, helps expand the market for renewable electricity, and increases the amount of clean, renewable electricity flowing to the grid. Austin’s municipal economy is one of the strongest in the nation and the City’s commitment to GreenChoice has been in place since 2012.
Through its GreenChoice program, Austin Energy purchases enough Texas wind energy to match 100 percent of a subscribing customer’s usage. Subscribers to GreenChoice pay less than one cent ($0.0075) more per kilowatt hour (kWh) for energy than non-subscribers. GreenChoice is available to residents and business owners without a contract, as a continuous subscription service that they may cancel at any time. Subscribing to GreenChoice means relying less on fossil fuel combustion for energy and less air pollution and less water used in drought-prone Texas. In 2016 Austin Energy customers purchased more than 719 million kWh through GreenChoice. This translates into carbon emissions offsets equivalent to the impact of more than 11 million trees.
“The Austin City Council has taken a leadership role by reducing the City’s carbon footprint, allowing the City to encourage its residents and employers to do the same by leading the way with its own use of electricity,” said Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy General Manager. “You can’t do better than 100 percent. We are proud to support the council’s commitment to GreenChoice, which brings 100 percent Texas wind power to many businesses and residential customers throughout the region. GreenChoice has helped Austin Energy become a leader in renewable power sales.”
By moving the needle in the voluntary green power market, EPA and its Green Power Partners help support development of the clean energy economy. Together, the City of Austin and other Green Power Partners are collectively using as much renewable electricity annually as the electricity demand of Utah and New Hampshire combined.
About the City of Austin
Austin, Texas is the state’s capital and home to nearly 950,000 residents. In 2007, the Austin City Council passed a landmark resolution regarding climate protection that set a target for municipal operations to be carbon neutral by 2020. Austin has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Live in the U.S. (U.S. News & World Report), Most Renewable Energy Sales by Utilities (National Renewable Energy Lab), Cities of the Future (Forbes), top Texas Municipal Water Conservation Programs (Texas Living Waters), Best Bike Cities (Bicycling magazine), and top Cities That Love Their Trees (National Geographic).
About the Office of Sustainability
The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability was established in September 2010, when Lucia Athens, a leader in sustainability and green building, was hired as the Chief Sustainability Officer. The office works to ensure a thriving, equitable, and ecologically resilient community by providing leadership, influencing positive action through engagement, and creating measurable benefits for Austin. The office works to achieve net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a healthy and just local food system, resource efficient strategies for municipal operations, tangible projects that demonstrate sustainability, and a resilient and adaptive city.
About Austin Energy
Austin Energy, the City of Austin’s electric utility, serves more than 460,000 customer accounts and more than 1 million residents in Greater Austin. The utility’s mission — to safely deliver clean, affordable and reliable energy and excellent customer service — has guided Austin Energy in powering the community and supporting the region’s growth since 1895. By producing and investing in wind and solar power, Austin Energy’s electricity is twice as renewable as the rest of Texas.
About EPA’s Green Power Partnership
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that helps advance the green power market and spur its development by encouraging organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,400 Partner organizations voluntarily using more than 43 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500® companies; small and medium sized businesses; local, state, and federal governments; and colleges and universities.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701