Press Releases

CITY OF HOUSTON INCREASES RENEWABLE ENERGY PURCHASE AND RECEIVES SUSTAINABILITY CERTIFICATION
Green Power Purchase Increases to 75 Percent

December 29, 2015 -- The City of Houston has signed an agreement with Reliant Energy, an NRG Energy company, to increase its purchase of renewable power through at least June 2016.  After the New Year, the City will work to negotiate another 12-month extension.  With this change, the City’s purchase of green power will account for 75% of its annual electricity demand.  The City will be using more than 950,000 MWh of green power per year, which is equivalent to the amount of kilowatt-hours needed to more than 87,000 homes each year.

“We are excited to continue our renewable energy leadership in Houston,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “This is a perfect complement to the recent approval of our 30 MW solar project, and I’m proud to leave this administration with such a positive statement about our commitment to sustainability.”

This purchase will put Houston as the largest municipal purchaser of renewable power in the nation, and in the top 10 overall in the nation, according to EPA estimates. The City has purchased renewable energy credits (RECs) that are Green-E certified. 

In addition to investing in green power, the City also received national recognition for its sustainability leadership from STAR Communities. The City of Houston was awarded a Certified 3-STAR Community Rating and is the third community from Texas to achieve certification under the national STAR Community Rating System (STAR), joining Austin and Plano as Certified STAR Communities. Houston is currently the largest city in the nation to become certified in the program.

The STAR Community Rating System is a robust sustainability rating system for cities, towns, and counties, which helps communities evaluate themselves across seven areas related to sustainability, such as built environment; climate and energy; economy and jobs; education, arts and community; health and safety; and natural systems. STAR provides support as localities benchmark progress, and a third-party review ensures accountability. Nearly 100 communities are actively using the STAR Community Rating System, with more than 60 engaged in the certification process.

“Sustainable cities provide a healthy environment, support a strong economy, and continually improve the well-being of the community,” said Hilari Varnadore, Executive Director of STAR Communities. “The data and information that Houston gathered through the process should help them continue to make improvements that benefit the whole community.”

Recent sustainability initiatives that the City has approved include:

  • Adopting an anti-idling ordinance for motor vehicles with a gross vehicle rating of more than 14,000 lbs;
  • Establishing a commercial Property Assess Clean Energy (PACE) program to enable Houston owners of commercial, industrial and residential properties with five or more units to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for water conservation, energy-efficiency and renewable retrofits; and
  • Moving forward with a 30 MW solar power purchase agreement for municipal operations.