‘Virtual power plant’ wins Georgetown $1 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies

The Buckthorn solar plant, located in Pecos County in West Texas, began sending solar-generated power to Georgetown in summer 2018.

The Buckthorn solar plant, located in Pecos County in West Texas, began sending solar-generated power to Georgetown in summer 2018.

A plan to lease space on rooftops of homes and businesses to install solar panels has earned the city of Georgetown $1 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the U.S. Mayors Challenge.

Georgetown’s “virtual power plant” is among nine million-dollar winners announced Monday by Bloomberg Philanthropies, joining projects from Denver; Durham, N.C.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Huntington, West Virginia; Los Angeles; New Rochelle, N.Y.; Philadelphia; and South Bend, Ind.

City officials say installing solar panels on residential and commercial properties in Georgetown will bolster cost efficiency and reliability of the city’s renewable energy sources.

This summer, Georgetown became the largest U.S. city to purchase all of its energy needs from renewable sources. The city has contracts with NRG Energy’s Buckthorn solar plant in West Texas and EDF Renewable Energy’s Spinning Spur 3 wind farm, located near Amarillo.

“With Bloomberg’s support, we’ve developed a model with greater community support and better financial viability,” Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross said in a statement. “We look forward to making the ‘virtual power plant’ a reality.”

Georgetown submitted its application to the U.S. Mayor’s Challenge in October 2017. The city was named one of 35 finalists in February and received $100,000 from Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop its proposal. The city of Austin was also named a finalist.


The Georgetown Willie's Grill & Icehouse, pictured, will open for business at the end of January. (Courtesy Willie's Grill & Icehouse)
Willie's Grill & Icehouse to open new Georgetown locale in late January

The casual bar and grill serves burgers, chicken fried steak, ribs, Texas seafood and more.

Aly Van Dyke was selected to fill the new role of communications and public engagement director for the city of Georgetown. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)
City of Georgetown announces new position: communications and public engagement director

Aly Van Dyke will oversee the newly formed communications and public engagement department.

Williamson County Commissioners Court established the primary early voting locations Dec. 10. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Most early voting polling locations finalized for March 2020 primaries

Court establishes primary early voting locations ahead of March 2020 elections.

Common winter allergies in Texas are caused by pollen from the Ashe juniper—also known as a mountain cedar. The tree is native to the area. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
As pollen counts rise in Central Texas, learn about cedar fever and allergy prevention

As temperatures cool heading into the winter season in Central Texas, pollen counts from Ashe juniper trees begin to climb, causing seasonal allergies referred to locally by residents as “cedar fever.”

The primary election for Williamson County officers will be held March 3, 2020 and the general election for county officers will be held November 3, 2020. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper).
Williamson County elected officials candidates have filed for March 2020 primary election

The deadline to file for a place on the Nov. 2020 ballot was Dec. 9. A total of ten county elected positions are open, including two on the commissioners court.

A WoodSpring Suites plans to open in Georgetown in March. (Courtesy WoodSpring Suites)
New Georgetown hotel to have 124 rooms

A WoodSpring Suites plans to open in Georgetown in March.

Georgetown was the first city in Central Texas to offer holiday string light recycling. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Holiday string light recycling available to Georgetown residents through Jan. 31

This will be the third year this service is offered to Georgetown residents.

Over 50 miles of cycling facilities are proposed in the plan for a grand total of 86 miles of interconnected bikeways throughout Georgetown. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Want to ride your bicycle? After more than one year of work, the bike master plan for Georgetown is here

Officials are working to install infrastructure ahead of city and county growth to include bicycle routes for both recreation and transportation purposes.

The Georgetown ISD board of trustees held their monthly meeting at the Hammerlun Center for Leadership and Learning, located at 507 E. University Ave., Georgetown. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Georgetown ISD releases proposed rezoning for elementary, middle schools

Pickett, Carver and Mitchell elementary schools, as well as Wagner middle school students may see attendance rezoning in the 2020-21 school year.

The Southwest Bypass will continue from Leander Road to I-35 when completed in 2020. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Officials: construction labor shortage won't affect Georgetown-area project completions

Even as Central Texas continues to face a shortage in construction labor, Williamson County and Georgetown ISD officials say they are confident bond projects will be completed in a timely manner.

Design phase to begin on downtown Georgetown parking structure

Progress on the $5 million parking structure at Main and Sixth streets continues.

Garey Park is located at 6450 FM 2243, Georgetown. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Garey Park draws more nonresidents in 2019 fiscal year despite a higher entrance fee

The 525-acre park opened in June 2018 at 6450 FM 2243 and features hiking trails, an equestrian arena and event center.

Back to top