CPS Energy, the largest municipally owned electric and gas utility in the country, was recognized by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Cogent Reports for leadership in renewable energy development and serving as a “customer champion.”
The accolades were made public in tandem studies released at the close of 2014 and spotlight the success of the utility’s New Energy Economy Initiative, an innovative approach to rebalancing its energy portfolio, cutting down on emissions, fueling economic development and bringing jobs to San Antonio.
The Pew Charitable Trusts’ “Clean Economy Rising Texas” brief recognized CPS Energy as a “leading the charge, establishing aggressive renewable energy goals,” in the Lone Star State. The San Antonio-based utility contributed more than half of the state’s total 213 capacity in 2014 with 129 MW of solar currently online. Plans for 315 MW are under development with its partner OCI Solar Power and will be operational by 2016.
Meanwhile, a national study by Cogent Reports, a division of Market Strategies International, recognized CPS Energy as a “customer champion,” placing third of the top 10 combination utilities for building customer trust, adding valuable products and services, and achieving operational satisfaction.
The external recognition arrives just as CPS Energy’s New Energy Economy initiative kicks into high gear, bringing jobs, economic development and investment in infrastructure and education to San Antonio from outside the community.
According to an update on the economic impacts of the NEE initiative, which has brought seven companies and five solar farms to San Antonio in just three years, economic impacts climbed to $808 million since its inception. In September, Mission Solar Energy opened its doors in San Antonio, becoming the first n-type solar panel manufacturing plant in the United States and the only solar panel manufacturer operating in Texas.
Dr. Steven Nivin, PhD of Economics at St. Mary’s University, noted that economic impacts increased 29 percent just in the past four months, from $622 million in April to $808 million through August of 2014.
Current NEE direct jobs count 500 employees, with annual payroll totaling $26 million and $105 million in capital expenses. Add indirect and induced jobs, and the total soars to 2,649 jobs in San Antonio — up 638 jobs just since April. Earnings leaped $33 million to a total of $140 million during the same period.
“It all adds up to a win-win for San Antonio,” said Cris Eugster, CPS Energy executive vice president and chief generation and strategy officer. “Even better, we’re just getting started. We’re only halfway to the $1.6 billion contractually committed in economic impact.”