Pflugerville extends ETJ as energy company renews effort for solar farm

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Pflugerville City Council voted Tuesday night to extend the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), per a request from RRE Solar Austin, an energy company that has long looked to develop a solar farm east of the city.

The recently acquired land is part of a larger non-annexation agreement the city has with RRE Austin Solar, in which Pflugerville is barred for 35 years from annexing the ETJ land owned by RRE Austin Solar.

The ETJ extension vote Tuesday night appears to be the next step for Pflugerville and RRE Austin Solar to finally construct the Pflugerville Solar Farm on a large piece of property approximately a dozen miles east of the city limits.

From city documents, “RRE Austin Solar LLC is taking steps to re-initiate its efforts to establish the Pflugerville Solar Farm.”

RRE Austin Solar broke ground on the property as far back as 2010, but there is no work currently being done on the property.

The city of Pflugerville and RRE Austin Solar signed a development and non-annexation agreement to move the project forward again in November. Under that agreement, RRE Austin Solar is mandated to begin principle construction of the solar panel farm by the end of 2018. However, similar deadlines have been agreed upon by both parties in the past, only to be extended.

Per the details of the current development agreement, RRE Austin must have the solar energy farm completed and able to generate 120 Megawatts AC–double the input originally planned in 2010–by Dec. 31, 2019.

In 2012, multinational electronics giant Panasonic Corp. partnered with RRE Austin Solar to build the solar farm. That partnership called for construction on the solar farm to begin in June 2013, but that work never got underway.

Panasonic is not listed as a partner on the most recent development agreement documents.

RRE Austin Solar has in the past run into barriers trying to secure a consumer for its solar electric power. In February, developers broke ground on a solar farm in west Texas that will generate solar energy for up to 50,000 homes in the city of Austin.

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Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. He additionally worked with an investigative news organization where he reported on environmental topics and was a featured writer for Epicast Network, a Pittsburgh podcast company. Iain has now transitioned full-time into covering Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto.
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