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Thursday, October 10, 2019

CPS Gets Grade on Sierra Club Report Card and It's Kinda Embarrassing

Posted By on Thu, Oct 10, 2019 at 4:19 PM

click to enlarge CPS Energy has increasingly relied on green power sources, including this solar array in South San Antonio. - OCI SOLAR
  • OCI Solar
  • CPS Energy has increasingly relied on green power sources, including this solar array in South San Antonio.
San Antonio's CPS Energy was a high scorer on a new Sierra Club report rating Texas utilities on their commitments to renewable energy. Even so, city-owned CPS barely earned a passing grade, the environmental group cautioned.

CPS got a 65 out of a possible 100 on the Texas Clean Energy Scorecard, which ranked it behind Austin Energy's 80 and Denton Municipal Electric's 67. Those companies were among just five in the study that earned more than a grade of 60.

"CPS has excellent local solar programs and some good energy efficiency programs, but they're still only getting about 20% of their renewable energy overall from renewable resources," said Cyrus Reed, Sierra Club's Lone Star Chapter conservation director and interim director. "And they rely on old and dirty coal plants for a great portion of their energy use."

As part of a strategy dubbed the Flexible Path, CPS generates power from renewable sources when it can do so without hiking ratepayers' bills. That means company also keeps some older coal-based facilities in operation.

In a statement emailed to the Current, CPS said its ranking on the report demonstrates its longstanding commitment to renewables. What's more, recent ratepayer surveys show that affordability is the top priority for the majority of its customers.

However, CPS's Spruce 1 coal plant is the largest point source for smog-producing ozone in Bexar County, said Russell Seal, a member of the Climate Action San Antonio Coalition. The site's continued operation stands in the way of San Antonio's Climate Action & Adaption Plan, he added.

"Selling power to the grids on the backs of the most vulnerable among us is just wrong," Seal said of CPS's willingness to keep the plant open.

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