Georgetown, Texas, is just on the north side of Austin. It’s a beautiful, middle-class town with good schools and a couple of universities. Last year, the town decided to go all-in on renewable energy, committing to using only wind and solar, which doesn’t sound that bad since Texas produces the most electricity from wind farms in the U.S.
In addition to taking only power from wind through the electrical grid, the town also applied for and received a grant from Michael Bloomberg’s foundation to build a battery system that would store energy for times when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.
But it hasn’t worked out well.
In less than a year, utility bills have climbed dramatically as the local power authority pulled more energy from solar and wind and less from natural gas-fired plants. Now the power authority is $7 million in the hole… and there’s no battery system.
To build a battery field sufficient to power the 25,600 residences, the city would have to spend $400 million, and it would only be good for 12 hours. If the city experienced a cloudy, windless couple of days, it would run out of power.
The city council voted unanimously to unwind the deal with the Bloomberg foundation… as well as raise property taxes.