Energy industry: Houston is buying solar energy

Energy industry: Houston is buying solar energy

One of the ways that state and local governments have supported the growth of renewable energy is to sign contracts to buy electricity from companies that use such sources. With this idea in mind, the Houston city council recently voted to increase the amount of electricity it proposes to buy from a new solar power farm being built near Alpine in west Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The original contract signed in 2015 called for 30 megawatts of power per year for 20 years at the cost of $80 million. The new contract ups the amount to 50 megawatts per year at a cost of $125 million over two decades. The deal would provide 10.5 percent of the city’s electricity needs.

The vote was not unanimous. Council members Mike Knox and Jack Christie voted against the deal. Knox raised the objection that the solar farm missed a December deadline to begin operations. The current date when electricity is due to start flowing is April 2017. Knox also noted that electricity purchased from the solar farm will be more costly than if it were generated from fossil fuel plants.

However, the cost is not the point where Houston’s city government is concerned. Houston, a city known to be the headquarters of the oil and gas industry, is keen to do its bit to remove carbon-emitting power plants from production. The electricity generated by solar energy plants would replace that being created from coal-fired generators. From the point of view of the Houston city government, the desire for green energy outweighs the increased cost of going solar.