10 of the Most Noteworthy Local Government Renewables Deals of 2021
The latest IPCC report emphasized the important roles of cities in the climate fight along with the many opportunities for cities to lead on climate action. In 2021, local government leadership on the transition to renewable energy continued to surge with another record year, according to the Local Government Renewables Action Tracker. A total of 155 local governments (25% increase over 2020) across 38 states (15% increase over 2020) purchased over 4,300 MWs of clean energy (4% increase over 2020) in 290 deals (55% increase over 2020). This is equivalent to the energy generation capacity of individual states like Colorado, New Jersey, or Minnesota, or enough energy to power more than 940,000 households annually.
Local governments across the United States inked deals of all types and sizes in 2021. Here are 10 deals the Renewables Accelerator identified as particularly noteworthy given their unique features and the ways that local governments purchased renewable energy in 2021:
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Atrisco Heritage Academy High School installed an 0.85 MW on-site solar array, the largest solar installation in the Albuquerque Public Schools system, along with a battery system that is the most extensive in the state. Project partners include Albuquerque Public Schools, OE Solar, the Department of Energy Office of Electricity, Sandia National Laboratories, and the New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources. Learn more in this Albuquerque Public Schools press release and this Department of Energy webinar about the project.
Ann Arbor & Pittsfield Township, Michigan
In an aggregated deal, the City of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township engaged with their utility in a state without retail choice and are now building a 24 MW community solar project on a closed landfill and the surrounding area. The project will offset over 80 percent of the current municipal electricity usage for Ann Arbor and 100 percent for Pittsfield Township. Learn more in Ann Arbor’s and Pittsfield Township’s city story.
The City of Batesville is partnering with Entegrity to build a 6 MW on-site floating solar array on a retention pond at the Batesville Wastewater Treatment Plant. Once completed, the project will be one of the largest floating solar arrays in the United States and is expected to offset about 97% of the City’s offices and facilities. Learn more in Batesville’s city story.
Choctaw Nation, Oklahoma
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma expanded its partnership with OGE Energy Corporation, increasing its participation in OGE Energy’s green tariff program to purchase an additional 5 MW of energy that OGE Energy is adding to its Solar Energy Center in Durant. The addition is doubling the size of the Solar Energy Center, bringing total capacity to 10 MW. Learn more in this OGE Energy press release.
The City of Columbus launched its Clean Energy Columbus program, a voter approved community choice aggregation program, which is rare outside of California, that enables the City to contract for energy on behalf of residents and small businesses. The program will provide 100% clean renewable energy through 700 MW of new solar and wind generation installations in Ohio, including a 50 MW solar farm being built on a closed landfill near Grove City. Learn more in Columbus’s city story.
As part of its Climate Action Plan, the City of Houston is building a total of 52 MW of solar – 50 MW of on-site solar and 2 MW of community solar – on a closed landfill. The project is expected to become the largest brownfield solar project in the United States and will provide 100% clean, locally generated energy while creating economic benefits for the historically disadvantaged Sunnyside community surrounding the landfill. Learn more in Houston’s city story.
MEAG Power, Georgia
On behalf of 49 local government members, the Municipal Electricity Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) combined municipal buying power to add 80 MW of solar power to its portfolio for the first time through an off-site physical PPA. In partnership with Walmart and Electric Cities of Georgia (ECG), a 26 MW portion of the output will be assigned to local Walmart stores in 14 Georgia cities, including Albany, Cairo, Calhoun, Camilla, Crisp County, Douglas, East Point, Forsyth, Griffin, LaGrange, Marietta, Moultrie, Newnan, and Thomasville. Learn more in this fact sheet and this ECG press release.
Skagit County, Washington
The Skagit Public Utility District (PUD) installed a 21 kW in-pipe hydro-power system at a pump station in Mount Vernon. The use of this uncommon technology will help Skagit County advance toward its net-zero goal while offsetting the use of grid power at the pump station in an amount equivalent to 3.5 million pounds of fossil-fuel-based carbon emissions annually. Learn more in Skagit County’s and Skagit PUD’s city story.
The City of Starkville joined the Tennessee Valley Authority’s green tariff program to buy 30 MW of solar energy from a new 200 MW solar farm being built by Origis Energy in Lowndes County. This is the first large-scale renewable energy deal announced by a Mississippi local government and it will help offset 15% of Starkville’s annual electricity consumption. Learn more in this Starkville Utilities press release.
Fryeburg, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Ogunquit, and Old Orchard Beach, Maine
The Southern Maine Solar Collaborative procured 5.327 MW of solar net metering solar credits in an aggregated deal for seven entities in five smaller communities in southeastern Maine. The aggregation helped each municipality involved reach better pricing options and competitive contract terms than they would have been able to achieve on their own. Learn more in these five local government’s city story.
Check out the Local Government Renewables Action Tracker to learn more about US local government renewable energy efforts.