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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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City of Austin - Renewables Portfolio Standard   

Last DSIRE Review: 11/05/2012
Program Overview:
State: Texas
Incentive Type: Renewables Portfolio Standard
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy
Applicable Sectors: Municipal Utility, (Austin Energy)
Standard:35% by 01/01/2020
Technology Minimum:200 MW from solar by 2020
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Expiration Date:
City Council Resolution No. 990211-36
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Expiration Date:
City Council Resolution No. 030925-2
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Austin Energy's Ten-Year Strategic Plan
Authority 4:
Date Enacted:
City Council Resolution No. 20070215-023
Authority 5:
Date Enacted:
City Council Approval Vote

The City of Austin, Texas, has been an early adopter of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulatory incentive. Using long term planning strategies, the City has set annual benchmarks for the percentage of renewable energy it uses annually. In February 2007, the Austin City Council approved Resolution 20070215-023, adopting the mayor's Climate Protection Plan. The Resolution increased Austin's renewable portfolio goal to 30% by 2020, with 100 MW required to come from solar. The resolution also sets a green power procurement goal, with the plan to power municipal buildings and facilities using 100% renewable energy by 2012. In February 2011, the city council approved Austin Energy's updated Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan, thereby increasing the renewable portfolio goal to 35% by 2020 and doubling the solar requirement from 100 MW to 200 MW.  See the Final Report on Austin Energy’s Strategy for 200 MW of solar generation per Resolution No. 20110804-027 from November 2011 for updated information on how Austin plans to meet its ambitious goals.

Other requirements established by the Climate Protection resolution include:

  • Making the entire City fleet of vehicles carbon neutral by 2020,
  • Developing and implementing departmental climate protection plans,
  • Developing an employee climate protection education program,
  • Achieving 700 MW of new savings through energy efficiency and conservation efforts by 2020,
  • Establishing a CO2 cap and developing a reduction plan for existing utility emissions,
  • Achieving carbon neutrality on any new carbon-based generation facilities, and
  • Implementing aggressive building codes to maximize energy efficiency.

The City of Austin has a long history of supporting the development of renewable energy resources. In February 1999, the Austin City Council adopted Resolution No. 990211-36, which set a goal for Austin Energy to achieve 5% of the energy in its portfolio mix from renewable resources by December 31, 2004. Renewable resources include those that rely on energy derived directly from the sun, on wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave or tidal energy, or on biomass or biomass-based waste products, including landfill gas. Funding to achieve the 5% increase in renewable energy resources was authorized to be provided by Austin Energy's green pricing program -- GreenChoice -- initiated in 2000. Residential and business customers can opt to have the standard (fossil) fuel charge on their electric bill replaced entirely by the GreenChoice power charge, which will remain fixed for 10 years.

In September 2003, the Austin City Council approved a resolution to ensure that Austin Energy continues to meet the community's demand for clean energy beyond 2004. Resolution 030925-02 directed the utility to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Wildlife Fund that included a goal to achieve a 20% renewable energy component in its energy mix, an increase in energy efficiency of 15% by 2020, and support of binding limits on national power sector CO2 emissions. Subsequently, in December 2003, the Austin City Council unanimously approved Austin Energy’s 10-year Strategic Plan, which among other initiatives, included elements to comply with the council’s energy policy resolutions. Objective 5 of the plan sets a renewables portfolio standard of 20% by 2020. Austin Energy also committed to develop 15 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity by 2007, increasing to 100 megawatts by 2020, increasing it again in 2011 to 200 MW by 2020.

  Pat Sweeney
Austin Energy
721 Barton Springs
Austin, TX 78704-1194
Phone: (512) 322-6292
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2013 - 2014 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.