Lifestyle

Texas Hill Country Increasingly Using Renewable Energy

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Texas is the national leader in renewable energy, as well as being the nation’s largest producer of natural gas, lignite coal, and oil. According to the US Energy Information Administration, Texas wind power generators produce more energy than two nuclear power plants. This Texas Hill Country home is connected to an electric utility but generates most of the power it uses from these rooftop panels.  The up-front investment in a system like this is about $33,000, and it will take years to pay off, but eventually, it will.

City of Georgetown Solar Energy Plant

Renewable Solar Georgetown

Photo: City of Georgetown

This west Texas solar energy generating facility is part of Georgetown’s plan to be powered entirely by renewable energy sources.  When the final generating facility comes online later this year, the city will have achieved its goal of 100% renewable energy.

Texas Is the Nation’s Leading Wind Power Producer

Renewable Energy from Wind Turbines

Photo: Robert C Deming

Thousands of these wind turbines dot the landscape in west Texas, and according to Scientific American, generated nearly 23% of total electrical power in the state in the first quarter of 2017. Georgetown’s wind energy comes from an area west of Amarillo.

Pedernales Electric Coop Johnson City Texas

PEC Solar Facility Johnson City

Photo: Robert C Deming

This 14-acre solar generating facility is being built in Johnson City.  Along with two similar installations, Pedernales Electric Coop in Johnson City has moved into community solar.  Only about 15% of the homes in the Hill Country are prospects for solar power; this program allows PEC customers to participate in the development of solar power who couldn’t otherwise do so.  These solar power installations are the only power generated directly by the Co-Op; the rest of the power they distribute is purchased from sources outside PEC.  There is a small saving to the Co-Op in not using the transmission facilities outside of their network, and this is passed on to the consumers who sign up for this program.  While the electrical power generated by these solar plants is not directly distributed to these customers, the program allows PEC to move forward in increasing the share of renewable energy available.

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