Georgetown, a Texas a city about 30 miles out of Austin, with a population of around 67,000, is a red city with a mayor who proudly attended Donald Trump's inauguration. In a state dominated by big oil, it’s the last place you’d expect to find a city that’s ran on 100% renewable energy … but it is.
The only other city to run on 100% renewables is in liberal Vermont.
When asked why a red city in a red state is one of the first cities in the U.S. to be powered 100% by renewable energy, his answer is simple: “In Georgetown, we make our decisions based on the facts.”
In an interview with the CBC, he had harsh words for president Trump, who’s been a huge supporter of coal.
“I couldn't disagree with him more on environmental or energy policy,” he said. “He says it's clean coal. There is no such animal as clean coal. If he would invite me to the White House, I could show him the art of the deal when it comes to energy.”
When Georgetown’s power contract was up in 2012, the city looked at its options and renewable energy was complete no-brainer over oil and gas which prices fluctuate by the day.
“Wind and solar would give us fixed-rate pricing for 25 years. With natural gas, it's only seven years,” Ross said. “So we know, all the way through 2041, what we are going to pay for our electricity, which gives us cost certainty, which minimizes and mitigates volatility in the short-term market.”
“In Texas, it's $2.50 per gallon of gasoline,” he continued. “If I made you an offer that for 25 years I can guarantee you $2.50, would you take it? I would lock in, for sure.”
Georgetown gets its solar power from the 154 megawatt Buckthorn solar plant in West Texas and draws wind power from a farm near Amarillo and two in west Texas.
Ross and his city’s decision to put policy and science before party is refreshing in an era marked by political divisions. “In Georgetown,” he said, “we put silly national partisan politics to the side and we just do what's good for the voters and citizens that put us into office.”