Rethinking Recycling | Think

The United States recycles about 34 percent of its waste – a number that hasn’t increased much in decades. Beth Porter, climate and recycling director for Green America, joins host Krys Boyd to talk about recycling strategies for both individuals and municipalities, which she writes about in “Reduce, Reuse, Reimagine: Sorting Out the Recycling System” (Rowman & Littlefield).

Source: Rethinking Recycling | Think

Net-Zero Energy Homes Pay Off Faster Than You Think—Even in Chilly Midwest | InsideClimate News

Zero-energy homes start with well-sealed and well-insulated attics, walls and basements or slabs. They often use triple-pane windows, especially in places with cold winters. Inside, energy-efficient appliances, highly efficient LED lighting and smart thermostats help avoid energy waste. Their designs often take natural lighting into account, too, and position windows and overhangs for additional solar heating in the winter and shade in summer. Since the homes are sealed to avoid letting cold or hot air in—and cool or warm air out—they also have ventilation systems customized to maintain comfortable circulation.  

Source: Net-Zero Energy Homes Pay Off Faster Than You Think—Even in Chilly Midwest | InsideClimate News

What Minimum-Wage Foes Got Wrong About Seattle – Bloomberg

A living wage is part of a sustainable economy.

The dire warnings about minimum-wage increases keep proving to be wrong. So much so that in a new paper, the authors behind an earlier study predicting a negative impact have all but recanted their initial conclusions. However, the authors still seem perplexed about why they went awry in the first place.

Source: What Minimum-Wage Foes Got Wrong About Seattle – Bloomberg

San Antonio’s Compost Queens taking food out of landfills to replenish the land – ExpressNews.com

A small San Antonio family business is trying to combat the dangers of decaying banana peels and the gaseous gore of yesterday’s lunch scraps.

Betsy Gruy and daughter Kate Gruy Jaceldo started Compost Queens to keep food waste out of the landfills and within the food cycle.

The Compost Queens make their rounds every week in a Chevrolet truck equipped with a special lift mechanism, collecting 5-gallon buckets of food waste and replacing them with clean ones for individuals who pay about $20 per month per month for the service.

They also work with commercial properties and restaurants, though those sites get 35-gallon bins.

It’s a business that restaurants and apartment complex residents like because they don’t qualify for the city’s green compost bins, and it’s timely given the increased awareness of how food waste — and the enormous amounts of heat-trapping methane it produces — contributes to climate change…read more source: San Antonio’s Compost Queens taking food out of landfills to replenish the land – ExpressNews.com

For San Antonio’s Water and Energy Utilities, Collaboration Leads to Conservation

Great article at The Rivard Report on the excellent steps toward building smarter more efficient electric and water grids! Is it time to look at how SAWS and CPS can partner to install water pipes that generate electricity?

Portland did it in 2015 so there should now be some great data to determine ROI and add resiliency to smarter grids without any negative environmental impact.

From The Rivard Report:  A hydroelectric power station at a sewage treatment plant. Water meters that transmit data via a network built for smart electrical meters…

Source: For San Antonio's Water and Energy Utilities, Collaboration Leads to Conservation

Pocacito (Post-Carbon Cities of Tomorrow) in San Antonio

From Deleration.news:

"Because much of the official discussion and implementation of the circular economy has taken place from the top down, on the level of governments and industries, we were most interested to hear about local, bottom-up, and community-driven efforts not just to transform large-scale material flows but the social relations in which they are embedded."

As such, Deceleration had the opportunity to interview representatives of Pocacito (Post-Carbon Cities of Tomorrow), an initiative of Ecologic Institute whose goal is to build trans-Atlantic solidarity and intellectual exchange around local creative efforts for a renewable economy and planet.

In the meantime, check out the opening exchange on Facebook of their "Eight to Infinity" tour (think eight cities, then lay the eight on its side to invoke ideas of a permanent economy/culture), held at San Antonio College's Eco Centro.

Also of interest to folks here interested in solidarity economy, climate justice, energy descent/democracy, permaculture, transition, degrowth, and cooperation, over the next two days, Pocacito brings visionary representatives from Madrid, Spain, and Marseille, France to UTSA CACP Speaker Series: Post-Carbon Cities of Tomorrow and University of the Incarnate Word.

For more details and to catch them at one of their next San Antonio talks:on these upcoming events, see:

Monday, October 1, 2018, at UTSA (“Radically Collaborative“) and Tuesday, October 2, 2018, at University of Incarnate Word (“From Circular Economy to Circular Society Workshop in San Antonio“).

Companies with cleaner, smarter energy use outperform their peers

Companies committed to 100% renewable electricity are more profitable than their peers – a new report by the RE100 draws on financial data from 3,500 businesses underlining the business case for putting sustainability at the heart of corporate growth strategies.

Source: Climate Week NYC: companies with cleaner, smarter energy use outperform their peers | The Climate Group

Mushrooms have the power to eat plastic say scientists

Fungi can be used to break down waste plastic and create sustainable building materials, according to scientists from Kew Gardens in London.

The State of the World’s Fungi 2018 report – the first of its kind – highlights the aspergillus tubingensis fungus, found in a Pakistani rubbish tip and first documented in 2017. It claims this substance can break down plastic in weeks rather than years.

Researchers say it could be used to deal with the global plastic-waste crisis, which has caused concern in the design industry and beyond.

Aspergillus tubingensis can grow on the surface of plastics, where it secretes enzymes that break the chemical bonds between plastic molecules.

“This ability thus has potential to be developed into one of the tools desperately needed to address the growing environmental problem of plastic waste,” reads the report.

Report explores “huge potential for fungi”

The report was compiled by a team of researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, which is one of the leading institutions for fungal research internationally.

It provides an overview of current knowledge about mushrooms and other fungi, and charts their usefulness to both the natural and industrial worlds.

Source: Mushrooms have the power to eat plastic say scientists

Will it take another American Civil War to transition from fossil fuels?

Will our addiction to oil drain every last drop? "Having taken oil for granted for decades, the global economy has failed to prepare for its absence. A bleak future awaits . . .

…Today's energy supplies provide the equivalent of the work of 22 billion slaves, according to former oil industry man Colin Campbell. But now the wave of oil looks set to leave us high and dry. At well over $100 per barrel, prices are climbing again to the level last reached in 2008. Since then, however, the tone of commentary has changed." ~Andrew Simms

“In 1860, slaves as property were worth more than all the banks, factories and railroads in the country put together,” ~Eric Foner

"There is no energy crisis, only a crisis of ignorance." ~R. Buckminster Fuller

Conservative Southern businessmen backed a civil war in defense of their business model and business interests. Given that the business model had been operating in the New World for two centuries, the livelihoods of much of the population depended upon it, and had 100 years of bedrock support in the US Constitution, it may be understandable that only a bloody conflict could reconcile the inherent contradictions embedded in that system.

More than two hundred years after that horrible conflict, the nation is again bitterly divided politically, ideologically, and economically, about an economy dominated by a problematic industry, fossil fuels.

Carbon, is the foundation of the global economy and fossil-fuel based industries in the US have trillions of dollars invested in human and industrial capital. These investments supply not only the energy needs of the rest of the economy, they power our pension and investment funds as well. Furthermore, petroleum-based ancillary industries and products also complicate matters. Our food, textiles, technology, construction, etc. industries, all depend upon inputs from fossil fuels.

Millions of people depend upon income derived from fossil-fuels and although in principle they may agree with the abstract goals of sustainability, when the chips are down, most will choose the real "in-your-face" needs of their families over the perceived benefits of a green future.

Progressives are spot on about the facts of possible futures, about the need to systemically and urgently move away from fossil fuels. Conservatives are correct that there isn't enough money in the world to solve all problems everywhere now, and do it effectively using the middleman of Big Government.

If we are to effectively, justly, and quickly meet the ever evolving challenges of Climate Change, we will need more efficacious tools than stalemated government and self-interested business.

There are several sources of capital for the purpose of addressing human problems; business, government, wealthy people, foundations. Each has advantages and disadvantages but we tend to favor one source or another based upon ideology, politics, and one's values.

What is lacking is not money, what is lacking is imagination and a genuine sense of a shared future. This we can not blame on the other. This we must honestly confront with the woman/man in the mirror. If we can learn the rudimentary lessons of Human cooperation, embrace complexity and inclusion in our social relationships, be flexible and creative, we can begin to truly begin solving problems instead of preaching to our respective choirs and lobbing rotten eggs at one another from behind our group-defined walls and moats. We are One Human Family, living on a blessed and beneficent planet, let's do a better job of acting like it. Our children deserve no less.

Our addiction to oil is draining every last drop – The Guardian

Swiss startup Energy Vault is stacking concrete blocks to store energy — Quartz

Swiss-based Energy Vault provides an alternative to pumped-hydro energy storage by using concrete blocks and cranes instead of water and dams. The Energy Vault concept contends that because concrete is denser than water, lifting a block of concrete requires more energy and can store more energy than a water tank of the same size.

Source: Swiss startup Energy Vault is stacking concrete blocks to store energy — Quartz

Figuring out how climate change affects the fungi that feeds trees and absorbs carbon

Despite aspen’s ability to grow from the northernmost reaches of Canada to the highest altitudes in Mexico, the tree is on the run. The southern part of the aspen’s range is drying up, while the northern edges are warming up and thus becoming more conducive to the tree’s survival, because of climate change, said Justine Karst, the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Terrestrial Restoration Ecology.

And while the shrinking, expanding or shifting of a tree’s habitat is always cause for concern, Karst said the bigger questions surround what then happens to one of nature’s unheralded carbon sink champions and a plant’s best friend—the mysterious mycorrhizal fungi.

According to Karst, mycorrhizal fungi—which comes in two types, arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal—colonize the fine root tips of just about every tree and plant on Earth.

In a symbiotic ballet from which life as we know it is allowed to spring, these mycorrhizal fungi grow tiny branch-like hypha into the soil to break down organic matter in a way that roots can’t, taking up nutrients and essentially feeding to the plant.

“A tree could not grow without them,” explained Karst.

While most fungi get their carbon from decomposing matter, Karst said mycorrhizal fungi have given up that ability over time and are completely reliant on a living host to get their carbon supply, which they get through the plant’s sugars

“It is a mutualism, so, yes, they both need each other.”

And while this nutrient transfer from the fungi is what feeds the tree, it’s offering is what makes the headlines these day.

Karst explained those carbon-laden sugars begin as carbon dioxide in the air before it is photosynthesized by the plant.

“Upwards of 40 per cent of those sugars get allocated below ground to support these symbiotes,” she said. “As we learn about mycorrhiza, we learn they affect a lot of ecosystem processes; one of them is carbon cycling.”

Researchers believe that up to 50 per cent of carbon in soils is derived by mycorrhizal fungi.

Karst said she chose to study the aspen because of its wide range and the fact it is the rare species of tree that hosts both ectomycorrhizal and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Because they differ in size and carbon-cycling rates—the larger ectomycorrhizal fungi requires more carbon and leaks more carbon into the soil—she thinks she will be able to determine what is happening to the ecosystem as aspens get stressed and then are lost.

“What I’m interested in is before aspen moves across the landscape, and how a changing environment affects the mycorrhizal community and the cascading effects on ecosystem processes like carbon cycling,” she said. “Typically when we are thinking about roots and microorganisms, we don’t necessarily connect them to these larger scale ecosystem processes. We don’t think of them affecting the forest as whole. There is that avenue of recognizing when we are thinking of forest health, resiliency and productivity—you also have to think these microbes in the soil.

“When you think of the health of the forest, its resiliency and productivity and how it is going to function in the future, we need to recognize that these small things matter.”

Source: Figuring out how climate change affects the fungi that feeds trees and absorbs carbon

Texas Could See $100 Million In Solar Investments

A deal announced Monday could mean a $100 million towards solar projects in Texas. Austin-based solar power company PowerFin Partners will develop and build the projects and Toronto-based real estate investors Fengate will finance the deals as part of today’s announced co-development deal.

“Financing of solar projects is pretty difficult,” said Tuan Pham, president of PowerFin. “(The deal) allows Fengate to focus on the financing and us to focus on the operating, development, and construction.”

Source: Texas Could See $100 Million In Solar Investments | Texas Public Radio

CPS Energy Board of Trustees Public Input Session

When:  June 13, 2018 at 5 PM – 8:30 PM

Where: Villita Assembly Building 401 Villita St
San Antonio, Texas 78205 Show Map
Complimentary parking at Navarro St Garage, 126 Navarro

What: 
You are invited to attend a CPS Energy Board of Trustees Public Input Session about Our Flexible Path. Join us and learn about our Flexible Path plan and how we'll meet the future of energy needs of our community.  Hosted by CPS Energy

5 – 6pm: Sign up to speak
5 – 6pm: Simple Summer Savings event (get savings tips and learn about our programs)
6 – 8:30pm: Public Input Session

The Burden — American Resilience Project

The San Antonio chapters of the Citizens Climate Lobby, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance held a panel discussion on June 9, 2018 about how fossil fuel dependence affects national security — and how the military is primed to lead the transition into clean energy.

“The Burden makes a compelling case about the importance of energy security. Dependence on fossil fuels is not just an environmental concern: it’s a matter of national security. That’s why the military invests in renewable and efficient energy, and why the nation should invest in a clean energy future.” — Sharon Burke, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense

About the film:
The Burden tells the story of fossil fuel dependence as our greatest long-term national security threat, and why the military is leading the transition to clean energy. The film is the centerpiece of a strategic media engagement campaign to inspire a movement that strengthens our energy security and harnesses the power of American innovation to make us leaders in the 21st century global clean energy economy.

The Burden presents the determined voices of those within the military and across the political spectrum who advocate for breaking America’s addiction to fossil fuels as essential to improving our national security.

Featuring high-level active duty and retired military leaders, elected officials and others, the film illustrates a tale of energy innovation. Some of our country’s most vital consumer technologies emerged out of military needs, such as the Internet and GPS, and the military is poised to play the same role again with energy.

However, as the film highlights, the fossil fuel industry’s powerful political influence poses major challenges to successfully developing renewable energy alternatives, even within the military. But the resolute advocates featured in The Burden are determined to break the energy impasse in order to improve American security and prosperity.

Source: The Burden — American Resilience Project

If You Want To Frac Clean Up Your Act

An open verse to the National Petroleum Council, and who else to include? Please comment below and feel free to forward along to those who could most benefit…

If you’re going to frac, at least, clean up your act.
Have some damn self-respect and consideration
for yourself, children and future generations.

If you want to frac, then clean up your act.
And quit your flaring! It causes people to wheeze,
and at the very least to sneeze violently!
Stop operating so sloppily, as if your business is an old jalopy!

So what if gas is too cheap to capture compared to flare.
When you flare too much methane is released into our atmosphere,
turning, “now we’re cooking with gas”, into being no better than burning coal.
Come on you mental wimp, rise to the challenge, sack up and clean up your act!

Cause the rest of us don’t care to bear the cost of your wasteful operating methods.
So, if not for us, at least for yourself, have some damn self-respect,
and fix your inefficient wasteful plumbing problem of a deficit
that you continue to allow in it’s release of greenhouse gas emissions.

If you want to frac, clean up your act! And quit using
10,000,000 gallons of fresh water to frack one well.
Reuse flowback, clean and recycle wastewater fluids so you won't
need so many disposal wells, that too often cause earthquakes.

Have some self-respect and properly monitor
your well sites and pipelines, and take personal responsibility
to clean up your act, if you wanna frac.
Then you don't have to be crony capitalist exempt,
from the clean air, water and safe drinking water acts.

Otherwise, sooner rather than later, you’ll be disrupted out of business,
with more efficient, cheaper and cleaner renewable sources of energy.
Whale blubber and buggy whips were once fine industries too,
but it didn't take a rocket scientist to say, “who woulda knew”,
that new technology rewards you to move along to better ways,
of doing things these days that help you clean up your act.

So if you want to frac, at least clean up your act
and do something to shut up those damn hippies, treehuggers
and other do-gooders, who not only just want to make this world a better place,
but actually know they can, by getting up off their cans,
and doing something about shutting your dirty-ass industry down.
So if you want to frack, please, clean up your act and become a class act.

Your mother, children and grandchildren will be glad and proud of you that you did.

So if you want to frac clean up your act, asshole, we don’t want our country to become
a shithole country…like 45 likes to talk about and so much despises.

I hope we got my fracs straight, er, uh, I mean facts straight?
You can get confused when things go horizontal, rather than just directional,
and that's just a fraction of it, but you still need to make a correction to your operating methods!

Otherwise, people will continue to make art like this about your industry:

When you don't clean up your act this art is how people react.

When you don't clean up your act this art is how people react.

*Much thanks to Alice Canestaro-Garcia for her artwork, support and encouragement to post this. Alice has an excellent history in the arts community and working in the fine arts industry as a talented artist and also as a highly skilled researcher, events and strategic planner, teacher, and great community outreach advocate. Also, much thanks to these great spirits who believe everyday in putting their actions into being the change and leading the change. And on April 28th at the steps of City Hall provided the inspiration to write this: Sophia Sepulveda, Claudia Sanchez, Pete Bella, Moby Warren, Greg Harman, Deceleration, Climate Action SA

Companies knew about the link between fossil fuel and global warming as far back as the 1980s

Is it a surprise that Shell has known for years the dangers of fossil fuels? The same goes for ExxonMobil also having known. What should or can be done about it?

A Dutch news organization has published a trove of internal documents from the oil giant Shell showing the company knew about the link between fossil fuel and global warming as far back as the 1980s. Despite their own findings, Shell, like other oil companies, publicly disputed the climate science for decades.

One confidential 1988 report from Shell was titled “The Greenhouse Effect.” It read, “Although CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere through several natural processes … the main cause of increasing CO2 concentrations is considered to be fossil fuel burning.” Friends of the Earth Netherlands is threatening to sue Shell unless it increases efforts to comply with the Paris climate accord. (Shell Knew: Documents Show Oil Giant Hid Dangers of Fossil Fuels for Decades)

This 1988 Shell report, discovered by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent, shines light on what the company knew about climate science, its own role in driving global CO2 emissions, the range of potential political and social responses to a warming world.

The confidential report, “The Greenhouse Effect,” was authored by members of Shell’s Greenhouse Effect Working Group and based on a 1986 study, though the document reveals Shell was commissioning “greenhouse effect” reports as early as 1981. Report highlights include:

  • A thorough review of climate science literature, including acknowledgement of fossil fuels’ dominant role in driving greenhouse gas emissions. More importantly, Shell quantifies its own products’ contribution to global CO2 emissions.
  • A detailed analysis of potential climate impacts, including rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and human migration.
  • A discussion of the potential impacts to the fossil fuel sector itself, including legislation, changing public sentiment, and infrastructure vulnerabilities. Shell concludes that active engagement from the energy sector is desirable.
  • A cautious response to uncertainty in scientific models, pressing for sincere consideration of solutions even in the face of existing debates.
  • A warning to take policy action early, even before major changes are observed to the climate.

In short, by 1988 Shell was not only aware of the potential threats posed by climate change, it was open about its own role in creating the conditions for a warming world. Similar documents by ExxonMobil, oil trade associations, and utility companies have emerged in recent years, though this Shell document is a rare, early, and concrete accounting of climate responsibility by an oil major.

1988 Shell Confidential Report “The Greenhouse Effect”

San Antonio ranks 6th in U.S. solar

The Alamo City — which was in eighth place last year — now has 161 megawatts of direct current solar power installed, according to the latest Shining Cities report from Environment America. The numbers are through the end of 2017.

Direct current is the power produced by solar panels before being converted to alternating current, which powers homes, and typically is measured at a higher level than AC power due to loss from conversion.

The growth is a 37.6 percent increase over the 117 megawatts of solar that San Antonio had installed by the end of 2016.

“That is the largest growth in the state of Texas in solar and it jumps San Antonio up two places in the rankings from eighth place last year to sixth place this year,” said Luke Metzger, director of the advocacy group Environment Texas, which is part of Environment America.

The latest numbers show San Antonio swapping places with Indianapolis, which had previously been sixth and is now eighth, and pushing past New York City, which San Antonio was ranked just behind last year.

City-owned CPS Energy’s Chief Operating Officer Cris Eugster attributed most of the growth to the utility’s rooftop solar rebate program.

Source: San Antonio ranks 6th in U.S. solar – San Antonio Express-News

8 Answers to the Judge’s Climate Change Questions in Cities vs. Fossil Fuels Case

San Francisco and Oakland want to hold fossil fuel companies liable for sea level rise costs. In an unusual move, the judge ordered a climate tutorial for the court.

Judicial review is about to meet peer review in a federal courtroom in San Francisco, where sparring cities and fossil fuel companies have been called to brief U.S. District Judge William Alsup this Wednesday on the basics of climate change.

It's an unusual arrangement, seemingly borrowed from patent litigation, where judges commonly hear initial testimony from both sides on pertinent scientific details.

That's done because the U.S. Supreme Court has directed that the meaning of a patent's words is a matter of law, to be decided by a judge—not a matter of fact to be decided by a jury.

You wouldn't think the science of climate change was like that. No court finding can dictate whether man-made greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet and causing damage to people, ecosystems and cities. A jury, if this case reaches one, ought to be able to comprehend overwhelming evidence that explains these realities.

Source: 8 Answers to the Judge’s Climate Change Questions in Cities vs. Fossil Fuels Case | InsideClimate News

Meet the Satellites That Can Pinpoint Methane and Carbon Dioxide Leaks – Scientific American

We have many ways of measuring methane and CO2 levels. When we measure it we can manage it…if we really want to know and manage it. Polluters can’t hide anymore.

Source: Meet the Satellites That Can Pinpoint Methane and Carbon Dioxide Leaks – Scientific American

We have many ways of measuring methane and CO2 levels. When we measure it we can manage it...if we really want to know and manage it.

We have many ways of measuring methane and CO2 levels. When we measure it we can manage it…if we really want to know and manage it.

San Antonio’s CPS Energy faces criticism on clean energy strategy – San Antonio Express-News

San Antonio’s public utility, CPS Energy, faced blowback from city leaders and environmental groups Thursday on its newly released strategic power plan that takes decades to fully transition to renewable sources of energy.

“A lot of folks felt blindsided by this,” said Russell Seal, a conservation committee co-chair for the Sierra Club’s Alamo Group, outside of City Council chambers before the Thursday meeting with CPS. Seal and a handful of other people showed up to protest the proposal.

The meeting — a regularly scheduled presentation by CPS — came just days after the utility revealed some of its future power-generation planning that assumes the city will continue to rely on coal and natural gas through at least 2040.

Under the “flexible path” plan released Tuesday, solar, wind and other renewable energy would account for half of San Antonio’s power sources by 2040. Gas and coal-fired plants would make up 20 percent of the utility’s power generation by then, with 16 percent coming from a new “flex gen” idea that counts on future technology and power storage.

The utility, which is owned by the city, currently gets roughly 22 percent of its energy from renewable sources, 45 percent from natural gas, 18 percent from coal and 14 percent from nuclear.

“It’s absurd to think that we should have any coal in our energy mix anywhere close to 2042. All coal should be phased out over the next decade if CPS is at all serious about addressing climate change and the impact air pollution has on public health,” Terry Burns, the Sierra Club’s Alamo Group chair, said in an emailed statement. “It is irresponsible and a slap in the face to San Antonio area residents with asthma and other respiratory diseases to continue running Spruce 1 for another 12 years, especially without modern pollution controls.”

The utility’s CEO, Paula Gold-Williams, sought to cool tension at the meeting, assuring City Council members that the plan could change.

“Its not a baked plan that has no flexibility; the operative word is flexible,” Gold-Williams told the council. “Every year we create a look and view of the future based on what we know, and we do multiple updates and thinking and scenarios. That’s planning.”

The plan would shut down CPS’ Spruce 1 coal plant, which went online in 1992, in 2030. The Spruce 2 coal plant, which was completed in 2010 for roughly $1 billion, would run until at least 2042, according to data provided by CPS.

CPS is planning to close the two 1970s-era J.T. Deely coal units at the end of 2018.
Related

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CPS Energy’s Future of Energy Symposium shines little light on what’s next for energy mix
San Antonio’s CPS Energy faces criticism on clean energy strategy

District 9 Councilman John Courage asked Gold-Williams why CPS couldn’t just move to 100 percent renewable energy, pointing to the community of Georgetown north of Austin as an example of a city that has made such a commitment.

“That’s a declaration of commitment, and it’s backed up by power agreements in the background that can allocate renewable power fully to cover all the demand and load, which is a viable way to do it,” Gold-Williams said. “But in
reality, power is moving indiscriminately all across the grid all the time, electrons love everybody, and in reality all the power goes in there and they could be getting … like during storms and freezing and there’s no sun and no wind, they’re getting power from other units.”

Power purchase agreements, or PPAs, allow utilities to lock in the generation created by renewable facilities at fixed costs for long periods of times, generally for up to 25 years. CPS Energy uses power purchase agreements signed with multiple companies for most of its wind and solar generation, while it owns its fossil-fuel generation and a stake in a nuclear plant.

Kaiba White, an Austin-based energy policy specialist for Public Citizen, said that power purchase agreements are little different from a utility owning its power generation.

“It kind of hurt me to hear that there’s this idea being perpetuated that Georgetown isn’t doing something real because they don’t own their solar farm,” White said.

Rye Druzin is a San Antonio Express-News energy reporter. Read more of his stories here. | [email protected] | @druz_journo

Source: San Antonio’s CPS Energy faces criticism on clean energy strategy – San Antonio Express-News