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In order to meet its targets, Austin Energy’s customers are being encouraged to subscribe to a renewable electricity programme, GreenChoice. Subscribers will be asked to pay the smallest premium for any comparable green power programme in the US – four-tenths of a cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used or about $4 per month for the average residential customer – according to a Department of Energy survey.

“We hope to become the utility against which all green power programmes are measured,” said Chuck Manning, General Manager of Austin Energy.

Austin Energy says it will spend $7.8 million in each of the next 10 years to purchase power generated from wind and landfill-recovered methane gas. The utility will provide $6.8 million annually plus a projected $1 million from subscribers. The funding will secure 40MW of renewable energy annually, enough electricity to power about 14,000 homes.

To service the Austin Energy programme, 12 wind turbine generators will be built in Upton County in West Texas. Six landfill projects will also be built to serve Austin over the next 12 months.

Once customer subscriptions to GreenChoice reach a certain level, Austin Energy will begin matching subscriptions dollar-for-dollar. In all, Austin Energy will dedicate annually up to 5% of its actual net income from the previous year.

By increasing its use of renewable energy sources, Austin Energy says it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by 160,000 tonnes per year and nitrogen oxides by 200 tonnes per year.

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