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Texas city nears wind and gas power deal, eyes savings

Texas city nears wind and gas power deal, eyes savings

The city of San Marcos, Tex., is discussing a potential three-year contract for wholesale electricity from wind developer NextEra Energy, according to the San Marcos Mercury newspaper.

According to information presented to the city council Wednesday night, the article said, the average San Marcos residential customer would see a savings of about $1.12 a month on electricity bills under the proposal, while large commercial customers could realize savings running into the hundreds or thousands of dollars annually.  NextEra's generating portfolio in Texas is 46 percent wind and 54 percent natural gas, it said.

For a number of years, San Marcos has bought all of its electricity from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), a state conservation and reclamation agency that owns a number of hydropower and fossil fuel plants, but also buys power from three wind farms.

The potential contract is yet another sign that with its existing federal incentive, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), wind power in the very windy states of the southern Plains can be cost-competitive.  In recent months, Alabama Power and Southwest Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), a utility that serves Louisiana, have announced wind power purchases that are expected to save their customers money.

Related articles:

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California PUC: Renewable energy procurement up in 2011, costs falling, February 8, 2012
More savings for ratepayers in Southeast as Louisiana utility ups wind purchases, January 26, 2012
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Is wind power holding electricity costs down?, January 3, 2012
Renewable energy adoption and the increasing cost of electricity in the U.S., December 20, 2011
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