My visit to one of the first 100% renewable energy cities in the USA!
In 2017, Georgetown transitioned into a 100% clean energy city. I WANTED TO FIND OUT WHY & HOW.
Walking around Georgetown, there are few physical manifestations of the city's choice to exclusively harvest renewable power sources! Instead, a tightly knit town square, which residents have proudly designated the most beautiful town square in Texas, spans the center, surrounded by a variety of local mom and pop shops. Side note- the city holds an interesting historical charm- I visited the William County Courthouse, where the first successful trials & subsequent prosecutions of the Ku Klux Klan members took place. Blue Hole Park, a picturesque "swimming hole" (Southern feature, we don't have these up North!) is also a neat photo opp.
In 2017, I viewed Al Gore's An Inconvenient Sequel- GEORGETOWN WAS FEATURED AS A MODEL AMERICAN CITY FOR COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE. MONTHS LATER, I VISITED & AL GORE WAS IN TOWN THE SAME DAY!
So where does Georgetown's success begin? Let's start with stating that, as of this post, there are fewer than 10 cities in the United States of America that have adopted 100% clean energy targets. Georgetown, Texas was one of the first cities to achieve this success! (FYI- additional current American cities with this distinct honor are Aspen CO, Burlington VT, Greensburg KS, Rock port MO, and Kodiak Island AK.) By 2035, DOZENS more American cities will be at or near this same milestone! Isn't this exciting?! Sierra Club has compiled this awesome list, check it out to investigate cities near you!
So when I first learned about Georgetown, I was honestly taken aback that such a small and ultra conservative city could be so innovative. (Let's face it, the views of Texas' former governor, Rick Perry do not scream "fight climate change!", but his love for fossil fuels is pretty obvious!) After doing some sleuthing, I discovered Georgetown began rethinking its power sources way back in 2012. When given the option to renew its contract, Georgetown knew the common sense option was to be as economical as possible. Solar and wind maintained stable prices for the long term future, while oil and gas prices would continue to fluctuate. Renewable energy source contracts included fixed prices for the city's long term future, while fossil fuel-based contracts would remain at a fixed price for the short term future. What's more is that the clean energy platform has drawn plenty of national media attention (and Al Gore!) and has been a great way to bring in economic investments. By 2016, Georgetown was 90% renewable, and in 2017, the city hit its 100% renewable energy target as initially set out.
Both wind and solar contribute to the cause. Interestingly enough, the power isn't produced locally, but is generated on a wind farm in Amarillo, TX, 500 miles away! Additionally, construction of a solar farm is currently underway, and Georgetown's power will be supplemented by solar energy this upcoming Summer 2018.
Inner Space Cavern
I enjoy exploring caverns, and this one definitely makes my top five! It's amazing how extensive the caverns plunge into the grounds, underneath Interstate 35. You don't want to get lost under here! Scattered with remnants of prehistoric Ice Age animals, the cavern is now home to dozens of tiny bats.