January 2008 - Austin Energy announced that it has procured new wind energy supply for its GreenChoice program and that the program is now open for enrollment. Under the GreenChoice program, participants pay a green power charge rather than the utility's standard fuel charge. For the new wind supply, the green power charge is 5.5¢/kWh, compared to the current standard fuel charge of 3.65¢/kWh; therefore, the renewable energy will be offered at a premium of 1.85¢/kWh over standard electricity rates initially. However, the price differential may change over time, as the green rate will remain fixed through 2023, while the standard fuel charge can go up or down each year depending on the cost of power plant fuels such as natural gas.
To supply the program, the utility has entered into agreements to procure power from two new wind farms in west Texas, one that is currently operational and another that is scheduled to come on-line at the end of 2008. To ensure the new supply of wind power is equally available to all customers, 25% of the supply from the new, operating wind farm will be reserved for residential and small business customers. In addition, purchases by larger businesses will initially be limited to 15 million kWh each. When the second wind farm becomes operational, all businesses will again be eligible to buy a portion of that supply.
Currently about 8,700 residential customers and 450 businesses participate in the GreenChoice program. To date, Austin Energy has contracts in place for 439 MW of wind energy and 11 MW of landfill gas generation.
News Release - Austin Energy GreenChoice® Program has New Wind Supply
News Article - Wind power available for Austinites