The City of Houston is increasing its use of green energy through procurement and long-term contracts to purchase solar energy

The Challenge

The City of Houston’s purchase of wind power represents a significant investment in the renewable energy market. With such an investment, the city is helping to grow the renewable energy industry, adding more stability to the market.

The Solution

Houston’s green power purchase program is the largest of its kind in the USA, with more than 140 MW of renewable power for municipal use procured from 2013 to 2015, and an additional 70 MW through to 2016. In total, the 210 MW, purchased through renewable energy credits that are Green-e certified, enable Houston to use almost 623,000 MWh of green power annually, which is equivalent to the electricity needed to power more than 55,000 homes. The program offsets more than 1 million metric tons of CO2 over the three-year agreement compared to fossil fuel-based power plants.

To complement these efforts, Houston is also generating green power through a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for a 30 MW solar plant, estimated to provide 77,000 MWh or 6.2% of the City of Houston’s average annual consumption of electricity, offsetting an additional 42,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. Houston’s green power purchases make the city the largest municipal buyer of renewable power in the USA, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership rankings.

Environmental Benefits – The program avoids 503 metric tons of NOx emissions and 368 metric tons of PM10 emissions through increased useof green energy.

Economic Benefits – Long-term contracts for renewable energy offer price stability, unlike the volatile fossil fuel markets.

Health Benefits – Emissions from coal-fired power plants cause negative health effects, including asthma and heart attacks. Renewable wind power is emissions-free

About Cities100

Presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – Cities100 showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments. You can access the full Cities100 2015 publication online here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Health
Key Impact
With the largest green power purchase program in the USA, Houston dubbed the energy capital of the world is transitioning from a fossil fuel powered economy to a low carbon future
Emissions Reduction
345,000 metric tons of CO2 reduced annually from Houston’s green power purchase program
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