“Paying” a BigPrice for BigWind

We have, over the years, repeatedly blogged about how renewables will RAISE electricity prices, NOT lower them, as BigWind touts. Unfortunately, our words are clouded by the loud mouths of BigWind…an industry that has now received Bigpaychecks from the US taxpayers for more than 30 years! Proof of OUR claims are below, right here in the USA. Texas electricity rates are HIGHER, not lower, with BigWind. Is this truth being shared? Not nearly enough. If you read the entire article, you will find that this community is now well known, among the renewable world, for its success in becoming 100% renewable.  Unfortunately, the same renewable world is not being 100% honest, in its reporting…
Georgetown, Texas, just 30-miles north of Austin, earned international acclaim after announcing its transition to a 100% renewable energy portfolio. Since mid-2018, all electricity consumed by the City, its residents and businesses, is sourced from a combination of wind and solar plants operating in the state. Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross, a CPA, touted the decision as a “no-brainer” grounded in economics and long-term strategic planning. For Ross, wind and solar were cheaper, more reliable, and the way of the future.
The shift to renewables put Georgetown on the green energy map and raised Mayor Ross’ public profile leading to national media interviews and a coveted spot in Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth.” Plaudits aside, Georgetown ratepayers were promised measureable reductions in their power expenses. The City’s 2016 annual budget anticipated an overall 10.8% decrease in electric utility expenses from the prior year’s projections owing largely to renewables.
But now that Georgetown is ‘running’ on wind and solar, its officials are facing a harsh reality.
Actual power purchases for 2016 were 22% over budget coming in at $42.6 million against an expected cost of $35 million. In 2017, costs surged again to $52.5 million and all indications are Georgetown electricity customers will take another bath this year. (See table 2)
TABLE 2
Georgetown, Texas Budget/Cost Data
(all figures taken from City budgets posted online)
Year Demand (MWh) Initial
Budget ($)
Amended
Budget ($)
Actual
Costs ($)
2011 547,476 37,448,760 35,018,526 37,455,227
2012 537,986 39,149,279 36,880,197 36,278,168
2013 544,340 34,550,709  29,020,574 27,689,893
2014 565,518 36,768,008 33,012,132 38,384,323
2015 590,029 37,073,038 37,073,038 40,538,526
2016 605,020 34,000,000 35,000,000 42,622,904
2017 621,464  38,000,000 44,000,000 52,526,535
2018 640,108*  44,000,000 52,000,000  tbd
2019 659,311*  48,000,000 tbd
…It’s no secret that renewable energy is flooding the Texas power market and depressing prices, especially during off-peak, off-season periods. ERCOT regularly reports real-time energy prices so the information was there for the City and everyone else to see. Power contracts and federal subsidies further encourage drops as wind and solar resources become immune to market signals and can afford to generate even when prices go negative.
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