The city council of Austin, Texas, U.S., has approved three new wind contracts totaling 570 MW. Even with a short-term wind contract expiring in 2015, this will bring Austin Energy’s total wind portfolio to 1,225 MW and puts the utility four years ahead of schedule for meeting its 35% renewable energy resources goal by 2020. This is one of the most aggressive targets for renewable energy in the country.
The new wind projects have terms up to 25 years and fixed pricing of
between $23 and $33 per MWh, which is comparable to wind pricing 10-plus years ago. These prices are competitive with natural gas generation. As a result, the new wind farms align with Austin Energy’s affordability goals and are expected to have a favorable impact to the Power Supply Adjustment charge (fuel) when they come online.
Two contracts with Duke Energy Renewables, each 200 MW, will buy power generated in Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley. The Los Vientos 3 wind project is expected to be online at the end of 2014 and Los Vientos 4 is expected to be online by mid-2016.
The third contract buys 170 MW of generation from E.ON Climate and Renewables North America, LLC, in Nueces County. The Patriot Wind project is expected to be online by the end of 2014.