"We care about San Antonio's future. So, without question, we care about the environment."
There are a lot of ways you want to spend your money, and you want to spend less of it on energy. You’ve asked us to keep costs low while powering your home and our community with clean energy.
We now provide you nearly 500 megawatts (MW) of waterless, emissions-free solar power. Adding more sun power means we can use our baseload generation of coal and natural gas less. Diversity of power generation sources is still our bread and butter because you will want heat in your home next winter when the sun isn’t shining and the wind turbines stop turning.
When the sun is shining, Rico Zuniga gazes across solar panels as far as his eyes can see. The operations and maintenance site operator for OCI Solar Power loves watching the panels move as they track the sun. OCI Solar Power is one of our New Energy Economy (NEE) partners - companies we attracted to San Antonio to provide clean and emerging energy technologies.
“It feels great to be able to provide clean and sustainable energy for families in our community, and not leave an environmental footprint. Personally, I feel that you should always leave something better than the way you found it,” said Rico.
Our commitment to provide you clean energy can now be seen at solar farms across Greater San Antonio and in West Texas, along with 1,059 MW of wind power also out west and spread across the Gulf Coast.
With your support, we crossed the threshold of a major milestone last year. We met our Vision 2020 goal of 20 percent renewable energy three years before the year 2020. It’s an accomplishment in which we all can take pride.
Your energy company is number one in Texas for solar generation and among the top public power wind energy buyers in the nation. More than 65 percent of our generation is low-carbon.
Choices are part of daily life. Whether it’s the decision to go with agreeable grey or rock your unique look during a job interview, or to leave your 401k invested when moving on to another venture, we all weigh our options.
In 2011, we considered the option of investing half-a-billion dollars into our oldest coal plant to reduce emissions or in a less expensive and cleaner natural gas plant. We opted to mothball the coal plant, J.T. Deely. Last year, we continued our preparation for the closure of Deely’s two units scheduled for the end of 2018. Stopping operations at Deely is equivalent to taking more than half-a-million vehicles off our roads, making it a good decision for our environment.
Lowering vehicle emissions protects the air we all breathe. 100 Best Fleets recognizes our work in this area, ranking us 45th nationally in Green Fleet and 25th in the 100 Best Fleets. The awards recognize organizations who drive employee engagement, safety, efficiencies, use of alternative fuel vehicles and cost savings.
Our trucks are on the road less, which also lowers emissions. With our Smart Grid Initiative, we rolled out trucks 58,000 fewer times, or 34 percent, in 2017 than the prior year partially due to remote connects and disconnects, better outage information, and the meters sending your usage information directly to us. That means no meter reader in your yard and greater privacy for you as well. Reduced emissions, improved safety for you and us, and saved fuel and maintenance all make a modern grid appealing.
After working hard all week long, you want to take walks in the park, get your little ones out on the playground or go on a bike ride. The assurance of enjoying recreational activities while breathing clean air is one we don’t take for granted.
In 2017, when the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) lost State funding for its air monitoring efforts, we partnered with AACOG to make sure their work could go on. We’re now monitoring our area’s air quality. Knowledge is power. With continued awareness of air quality issues, AACOG can talk to our community about the steps we should take to reduce air emissions.
Collectively, we're making a difference for our environment. While we're investing in renewables, you're increasing your energy efficiency and avoiding vehicle emissions by using online services. These are just some of the actions that may help San Antonio maintain its status as one of the largest cities still in the clear with federal clean air standards. But, there’s more to be done.
Together, we stood with our partners – the City of San Antonio and University of Texas at San Antonio – to launch the SA Climate Ready event in December 2017. We’re listening to your feedback and looking at ways to power our city and your homes while slowing down global warming at the same time. Clean energy is one answer.
Development of a framework for a future Climate Action and Adaptation Plan is another solution, and is now underway. We’re a part of the planning process because we want to do what’s right for you, our economic future and our environment.
We know you want to do your part to clean up our air as well. Your partnership with us in energy-efficiency programs and rebates is good for both the environment and your energy bill. Thank you for stepping up your energy-saving game through these programs.
Can you imagine 11 billion gallons of Edwards Aquifer drinking water lost last year? That could have been our future if not for one of the most devastating droughts in Texas in 600 years. It took place in the 1950s and prompted our energy company leaders of the time to create Calaveras and Braunig lakes.
Recycled water goes into the lakes and is used to cool our plants instead of drinking water. As a result, the lakes saved enough water in 2017 to take care of the needs of 76,000 average families for the entire year.
"When we do our surveys of lakes in Texas, Braunig and Calaveras lakes rank among the highest for fishing recreation," said Randy Myers with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Randy’s agency works with us to stock the lakes every year. Last year, 20,000 hybrid striped bass found a home, however temporary, in Braunig and Calaveras lakes.
You are doing your part to save water, too. Whenever you turn off the lights in your home and support clean energy, we can use less water. Since 2002, the combination of renewables and energy efficiency has saved 53,000 acre feet, or more than 17 billion gallons.
That pizza box, water bottle and empty can of soup makes their way into your recycling bin at home. Your dedication to keeping recyclables out of our landfills and waterways shows your love for our environment. But what do you do with old utility poles, wires and washers (the kind used for nuts and bolts) the size of an industrial tractor wheel?
We do the same thing you do at home. Recycle them. In 2017, we recycled 300,000-500,000 tons of material, keeping 91 to 95 percent of our materials out of landfills.
We also love getting young people involved in caring for our Earth. In January, almost 2,000 young ladies earned our 2018 CPS Energy Environmental Awareness patch at the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas Cookie Rally & Tailgate on the grounds of the San Antonio Zoo. The colorful patch featured a pretty, pink-shelled turtle floating on clean water.
Taking care of today’s resources so our children and future generations have what they need to survive and thrive is a job for all of us. Whether recycling paper or plastic or something much larger, we are on a daily mission with you to do what’s right for people, animals and our environment.