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WASHINGTON, DC-The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that Austin Energy, the city-owned utility of Austin, Texas, is receiving the 2005 Wind Power Pioneer Award. The utility was cited for its leadership, demonstrated success and innovation in its wind power program.
The award, sponsored by DOE's Wind Powering America program, was presented today at the American Public Power Association's 2005 Customer Connections Conference in Kansas City, Mo. Austin Energy was one of eleven public power utilities nominated this year.
"We congratulate Austin Energy for its innovation and commitment to wind power and other renewable resources," said Douglas L. Faulkner, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "They have demonstrated how wind power can contribute to a cleaner environment, a stronger local economy and act as hedge against rising fuel costs. Austin's success and ambitious plans suggest that wind power is ready to become a mainstream energy resource for America."
Through Austin Energy's GreenChoice program, customers can voluntarily support the utility's investments in four Texas wind farms. Subscribers pay a GreenChoice charge instead of the conventional fuel charge on their monthly bills. The GreenChoice charge stays fixed for up to 10 years, passing on to customers the benefit of long-term contracts for wind-generated electricity. This program feature, along with strong marketing and support from local government and businesses, has made Austin Energy's GreenChoice program the top-selling utility green power program in the United States for three years in a row.
Austin Energy is a city-owned electric utility serving 360,000 customers in the city of Austin and Travis County, Texas. The utility currently has 213 megawatts of wind projects under contract -- one of the largest public power utility commitments to wind in the nation. Austin Energy has pledged to meet 20 percent of its energy needs with wind and other renewable energy sources by 2020.
The American Public Power Association, cosponsor of the Wind Pioneer Awards program, is the national service organization representing the nation's more than 2,000 community- and state-owned electric utilities. Previous awardees include municipal utilities in Waverly, Iowa, and Fort Collins, Colo.
Wind Powering America is a DOE program committed to dramatically increasing the use of wind energy in the United States. For more information visit http://www.eere.energy.gov/.
Craig Stevens, 202/586-4940
Tom Welch, 202/586-5806