City makes deal with Reliant for more green power

(Bob Owen/San Antonio Express News)
(Bob Owen/San Antonio Express News)

By Erin Mulvaney

The city of Houston has signed an agreement with Reliant Energy to increase its purchase of renewable power through this summer, enough for roughly 87,000 homes each year.

The city is now working to negotiate a 12-month extension with Reliant, a subsidiary of Houston-based NRG Energy. The city’s purchase of green power will make up 75 percent of its annual electricity demand and now the city will use more than 950,000 megawatts of green power per year.

“We are excited to continue our renewable energy leadership in Houston,” outgoing Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement after last week’s announcement. “I’m proud to leave this administration with such a positive statement about our commitment to sustainability.”

With the new purchase, Houston will be the largest municipal purchaser of renewable power in the nation.

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

This is the latest in a string of sustainability initiatives for the city of Houston, which has approved an anti-idling ordinance for motor vehicles, established a commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program and moved forward with a 30-megawatt solar power purchase agreement for municipal operations.