Houston becomes largest municipal purchaser of renewable power in the U.S.

C40 city Houston recently announced the purchase of over 140 megawatts (MW) of renewable power over the next two years. The deal will make the City the largest municipal purchaser of renewable power in the nation, and in the top 10 overall, according to estimates by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Houston’s purchase of green power will account for half of its annual electricity demand, using almost 623,000 megawatt hours (mWh) of green power per year, which is equivalent to the amount of kilowatt-hours needed to power over 55,000 homes each year.

“Houston is already known as the energy capital of the world, but we are committed to becoming the alternative energy capital of the world as well,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “Purchasing green power reduces the environmental impacts of electricity use, decreases the cost of renewable power over time and supports the development of new renewable generation. A triple win for Houstonians.”

The City has purchased renewable energy credits that are Green-E certified. Taking advantage of more cost effective and cost competitive REC (renewable energy certificates) prices, Houston has maintained a relatively flat power price while also increasing its percentage of renewable energy in its portfolio. The City has committed $2 million for this 2-year agreement.

In addition to purchasing green power, Houston is also working to reduce its emissions. According to recent data published in the 2013 Carbon Disclosure Project report, the City’s municipal operations emissions have realized a 26 percent decrease from the 2007 greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Houston has committed and invested in many programs that reduce cost, improve efficiencies, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Projects such as the municipal energy efficiency retrofit program, for example, which upgraded 6 million square feet of the City’s buildings to achieve 30 percent energy reductions, have helped Houston achieve and surpass its climate goals.