With all the data in, the future of this community has been charted and we must thank our city leaders for their incredible efforts in managing this city.
This vision plan will be on course for years to come and there is success in this city’s future.
Besides infrastructure, affordable housing and education, I will ask our city leaders and our community to add securing renewable energy to power this city to the list of issues to consider for our future. This was outlined in part at a City Council meeting on Sept 4.
Cities such as Georgetown are now powered by 100-percent solar and wind energy. Denton will follow Georgetown by 2020 in powering their city with the same.
They no longer have to worry of the volatility of crude and gas markets, or unexpected price fluctuations because of conflicts in the Middle East.
Georgetown, I might add, just received $1 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies for their creation of a virtual power plant and their approach to energy conservation.
Our neighbors New Braunfels and Kerrville are already exploring and securing information to power their communities with solar and wind.
Another example is Fort Hood. From the Sept. 17 San Antonio Express News, “wind power can also play an important role in strengthening our military and national security.”
Fort Hood receives around 50 percent of its electricity from wind and solar. Their motivation was to secure the base’s energy supply. In 2017, the base saved approximately $1.7 million and is expected to save even more as they increase the amount of renewables they use.
Solar and wind could certainly be considered by one of this city’s biggest power users, Hill Country Memorial Hospital for example. In one of the hospital CEO’s recent articles I read, she mentioned “reducing operational costs.” Solar and wind would be a way to significantly lower electricity costs.
More hospitals are considering and exploring the use of renewable energy and moving away from fossil fuels.
FISD perhaps could follow the example of the Eanes Independent School District in the Austin area (Nov. 5, Austin American-Statesman). One project is to install solar lighting panels on sloped metal roofs at their school for energy efficiency and cost savings.
For this city, there are other ways to power city owned entities. For example, panels on city-owned property, the land fill, where land that has already been reclaimed or panels at the water reclamation plant.
Obviously, these are only suggestions that would need study by the city’s engineers, but it is something to consider.
I am not advocating for the erection of a massive wind generator on Cross Mountain. These wind and solar plants are already in existence from Amarillo to El Paso in West Texas and no doubt plants can be built to accommodate the needs and usage of a community.
But I believe now is the time for the city, its residents and local businesses to begin the dialog on use of renewable energy for this city.
It is about the cost for energy and the bottom line. It is also an environmental climate change issue.
Our future generations do not get to vote or choose what our generation will leave them. Let’s leave them a Fredericksburg and Texas with cleaner air water and soil. The future is now.
Rodriguez is a retired energy industry employee with four decades in petrochemical, onshore and offshore, and the pipeline sectors. He served in the U.S. Marines from 1969-1971.