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The Lower Colorado River Autority executed a solar power purchase agreement, which will provide approximately 2.5% of the San Marcos' energy. Photo submitted by the City of San Marcos

City to increase total renewable energy with new solar power agreement

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Lower Colorado River Authority executed a solar power purchase agreement, which will increase the total renewable energy powering San Marcos to 10% by 2021. 

The City Council approved San Marcos Electric Utility’s pursuit of solar power contracts in January in order to utilize improving financial opportunities in the industry. The purchase with LCRA will provide approximately 6.7 megawatts to the City during afternoon peak times, and will result in approximately 2.5% of the City’s yearly consumption. 

“It has been a great experience working with our partners at LCRA, and the City is very excited about the ability to deliver additional renewable power to our customers,” said Tyler Hjorth, City Public Services Assistant Director. “We are actively pursuing additional low-risk, reliable, economically attractive contracts so our grid can represent the best interests of our citizens without raising rates.”

Hjorth said that one of the biggest benefits from this agreement with LCRA is that it will come at no cost increase for San Marcos consumers. 

“The net impact for (consumers) with the LCRA contract is they'll get another 3.5% of their power from directly from renewables at no cost increase,” Hjorth said. “Right. So those are the two bulletpoints as we are getting renewables. And it's not going to cost us anything more than what we're already paying.”

Alongside the added 2.5% of the energy the new solar agreement will provide, the city already uses 3.5% of its energy from hydroelectric power. San Marcos will begin receiving 3.6% of its energy needs from wind power from a West Texas wind farm in 2021, which will bring its total renewable energy use to nearly 10%. 

“We're actually super excited about this because what it confirms for us is that if you do keep digging hard, and you do keep pressuring the vendors that you can get the low cost, minimum risk deal that we're looking for,” Hjorth said. “We're just not in a position to go out and take risky adventure. So for us, They've got to be cost effective, That's number one. And then they have to be economically risk free, and they have to be reliable, we have to be able to get those sources to us without worrying about, you know, transmission system impacts and transmission costs and those kinds of things.” 

San Marcos is currently relying on coal, hydroelectric and natural gas power to meet its energy needs.

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