Austin Energy agrees to purchase power from upcoming solar farm in east Pflugerville

Austin Energy has entered into an agreement to purchase energy from a solar farm in Pflugerville's eastern extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Austin Energy has entered into an agreement to purchase energy from a solar farm in Pflugerville's eastern extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Austin Energy will purchase power generated by the East Blackland Solar Project—a solar farm located in the Pflugerville's eastern extraterritorial jurisdiction—according to city documents.

As a result, the East Blackland Solar Project will move forward with a concrete construction start and end date after council voted to amend the non-annexation agreement with Recurrent Energy/Canadian Solar, developers of the Solar Farm. The amended non-annexation agreement now mandates that construction will begin no later than Dec. 31, 2019 and end no later than Dec. 31, 2020.

According to city documents, Austin City Council approved a Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA, between Austin Energy and Recurrent Energy this past November. That contract will cost Austin Energy $165 million over 15 years, which the utility company expects to offset through the sale of excess energy to the market.

"This purchase power agreement not only gets us closer to achieving the City's renewable energy goals, but it's also a good deal for our customers," said Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy general manager, in a Nov. 16 press release.

In March, Pflugerville City Council agreed to a request from the developers of the solar farm to extend the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction. That request came after Recurrent Energy took over development of the solar farm from RRE Austin Solar and acquired additional land for the 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 advance the energy project in November 2017 that bars the city from annexing the East Blackland Solar Project for 35 years.

In its Nov. 16 press release, Austin Energy states the solar project has the capacity to generate 144 megawatts of electricity, which would represent an increase in the total output of the solar farm since the November 2017 development agreement between the city and RRE Austin Solar. When the project was originally presented in 2010, the project was planned for an output capacity of just 60 megawatts.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.