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EUC recommends energy gap study consultant pool

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 by Tyler Whitson

The Electric Utility Commission recommended Monday that City Council consider the top three consultants that Austin Energy staff evaluated to conduct what commissioners have called a “gap study.” That independent study will help Council determine how to fill an energy generation gap created by ramp-downs of aging energy sources such as the Decker Creek Power Station, outlined in the Austin Energy Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan to 2025. Khalil Shalabi, Austin Energy’s vice president of energy market operations and resource planning, has argued that constructing a 500-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas plant will help support some of the plan’s renewable-energy goals, while many environmental advocates have argued in favor of pursuing alternatives that consist entirely of renewable options. The top three firms that Austin Energy staff have identified, in order from highest to lowest rating, are Pace Global, Navigant Consulting and LCG Consulting. During the discussion, Chair Michael Osborne expressed an interest in LCG Consulting, and Commissioner Joep Meijer expressed an interest in Navigant Consulting. The draft agenda item only explicitly recommends Pace Global, and commissioners agreed that when the previous Council adopted the plan in December, it intended for the current Council to select from the top three options. Austin Energy Director of Local Government Relations Jeff Vice said he would forward the commission’s requested language change to the utility’s purchasing office.

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