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Fully-Local • Non-Partisan • Public-Service Journalism
 

Stories by Bill McCann

Climate change report prepared for Austin predicts weather extremes

The first indications of how climate change likely will affect Austin in the coming decades are beginning to emerge. A just-completed report by City of Austin staff sets out some sobering scenarios of potential future conditions. Extremes of heat, drought…

Austin Energy now backs full collection of line extension costs

Taking a cue from City Council members, Austin Energy has shifted its position and now supports recovering the full costs of extending power lines to new customers starting in October. Utility officials plan to take the new proposal to the…

Austin Energy to build $67 million office building in East Riverside area

Facing continued cramped quarters and a big-dollar lease, Austin Energy officials say they hope next week to take a major step toward construction of a new office building for the city’s electric utility.   Austin Energy officials plan to ask…

New LCRA team: varied experience, highly paid

The Lower Colorado River Authority’s new general manager Phil Wilson received a hefty pay increase when he moved from the hot seat at the Texas Department of Transportation to another hot seat at the state-created water and power authority two…

Activists ramp up campaign for renewables and against fossil fuels

As Austin Energy begins to update its energy plan, local solar and environmental advocates have ramped up their three-year campaign to get the City of Austin to invest even more in renewable energy and to pull the plug on coal.…

Solar project draws praise at Generation Plan hearing

Solar energy advocates were still buzzing Monday at the recent news that Austin Energy has negotiated a 25-year contract to buy up to 150 megawatts of solar-generated electricity at a price that is among the lowest ever.   A number…

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New wind-power agreement is Austin Energy’s cheapest

A wind-power purchase agreement going to the City Council Thursday for approval will not only allow Austin Energy to reach a key renewable energy goal four years ahead of time, it will be the cheapest wind energy the utility has…

Renewable energy pioneer retires from Austin Energy

Michael Osborne, long-time entrepreneur, author, and renewable-energy pioneer in Texas, is turning another page in his storied career.   Over the past four decades, Osborne has built energy-friendly homes; developed the first wind farm in Texas; helped form the Texas…

Austin Energy backs retiring city’s share of Fayette plant in 2025

Shifting position on the Fayette Power Project, Austin Energy has recommended retiring, rather than selling, its share of the controversial coal-burning plant.   The recommendation calls for the city to establish a shut-down date of 2025, nearly a decade later…

City staff identifies financial options to assist small businesses

A City Council committee this week backed a staff report recommending four financial and payment assistance options for the full Council to consider to help small business contractors and subcontractors cope with meeting City of Austin living-wage requirements. Staff recommendations…

Memo cites major legal hurdles for city to get out of coal plant

The City of Austin faces formidable legal hurdles and potentially significant costs if the City Council decides to sell or shut down the city’s share of the coal-fired Fayette Power Project, according to a new city Law Department memo.  …

EUC rejects bid to join battle over reduced value of solar rate

While solar advocates continue to be upset over Austin Energy’s decision to reduce a rate used to compensate residential customers for the value of electricity generated by their solar units, the Electric Utility Commission has decided against joining the fight.…

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