Renewable energy – an LCRA legacy
LCRA began providing electricity for Central Texans in the 1930s, using the renewable water resource of the Colorado River to produce hydroelectric power. Eventually, LCRA created a series of six dams to make that power available to many rural Texans who did not have access to the benefits of urban electric systems.
Here are significant milestones in LCRA’s history of providing clean, renewable power to the people of Texas:
- LCRA joined other transmission service providers in building infrastructure that brought wind power from West Texas to more densely popular areas of the state through Competitive Renewable Energy Zones.
- LCRA played a key role in helping launch the state’s first commercial wind power plant in 1995 – by purchasing power from the Texas Wind Power Project in Culberson County.
- LCRA joined other transmission service providers in 2009 to build infrastructure that brought wind power from West Texas to more densely popular areas of the state through Competitive Renewable Energy Zones.
- LCRA owns and operates units at the six Highland Lakes dams that can generate about 295 MW of hydroelectric power.
- LCRA played a key role in supporting the startup of the first large-scale commercial biogas facility in Texas. While LCRA no longer purchases fuel from the facility, LCRA did purchase all of the renewable natural gas generated at the facility during its first years of operation for use in its natural gas-fueled plants.
- LCRA has a 21.6-kilowatt solar energy system on its Environmental Laboratory in Austin, one of the largest projects in Austin Energy’s Solar Rebate Program.
- LCRA in 2009 installed a residential-sized wind turbine at its McKinney Roughs Nature Park near Bastrop as part of a demonstration project to educate park visitors about renewable energy.
- LCRA in 2016 partnered with the city of San Marcos to design and install a 20 kW solar panel system on the roof of a concession stand at Five Mile Dam Park in San Marcos. The panels should generate about 33,000 kWh annually, and will help power the concession stand during daylight hours. The park also features a new interactive photovoltaic educational kiosk.
- In 2019, LCRA announced it is purchasing 10 megawatts from a south Texas solar plant, and will purchase 141 MW from the Juno solar plant being built in Borden County.
LCRA continually seeks opportunities to purchase wind and solar power for its customers that is priced at competitive market rates.
Providing clean power
In addition to operating its electric generating facilities efficiently and in an environmentally responsible manner, LCRA has committed millions of dollars to further improve emissions of its power plants.
All LCRA’s fossil fuel-fired electric generation facilities maintain better air quality standards than required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.