New Energy Economy impacts increase to $808 million

The New Energy Economy just keeps growing.

Dr. Steven Nivin, PhD of Economics at St. Mary’s University, updated the impacts of CPS Energy’s initiative to leverage its renewable energy investments and create a local clean energy economy in a report made public last week.SteveNivin (1)

The news is outstanding: economic impacts increased 29 percent just in the past four months, from $622 million in April to $808 million through August of 2014.

The report comes on the heels of the prestigious Pew Charitable Trusts recent brief, “Clean Energy Rising Texas,” which featured CPS Energy as a leader in renewable energy development in the Lone Star State.

“Cities such as San Antonio and Austin are leading the charge, establishing aggressive renewable energy goals,” a summary of the Pew brief states.

Kim Stoker, CPS Energy’s director of environmental and sustainability, shared the utility’s strategy in a webinar Pew Trusts hosted to release the study.

“CPS Energy’s approach to attract business partners is helping to drive job growth, improve our environment and invest in education,” she said. “We believe this commitment is really helping our community, and San Antonio is emerging as a hub for clean energy technology.”

Read the brief and check out Pew’s webinar.

CPS Energy’s success linking clean energy investments to local job creation was also highlighted in last week by Jim Marston, head of the Environmental Defense Center’s national energy program, regional director of EDF’s Texas’ office and a regular contributor.

“Not only is CPS Energy bringing more jobs that can’t be outsourced to the city,” Marston concluded, “it is also saving money for residents and businesses. This is a win-win for everyone.”

The Nivin Report tallies the current NEE direct job count at 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.

Michael Sanchez 005
People like Michael Sanchez, a welder at Sun Action Trackers, have secured new, fulltime employment thanks to the New Energy Economy.

The 500 people directly employed at CPS Energy’s partner companies generate $26 million in income and benefits for the community and yield an annual economic impact of $502 million, Nivin found. When multiplier effects are taken into account, he calculated the economic impact expands to $808 million.

Multipliers include spending on supplies, materials and transportation, as well as the personal spending of employees — on homes, cars, groceries and living expenses.

Read the executive summary of the updated report.

CPS Energy’s New Energy Economy was launched in June of 2011, less than a year after CEO Doyle Beneby took the utilty’s helm. The goals of the initiative include:

  • Rebalancing CPS Energy’s portfolio by achieving 20% of generation capacity from renewable energy with low- or no-carbon emitting power plants by 2020.
  • Leveraging utility investments, clean energy and innovative technologies for job creation and education investment.
  • Reducing emissions by an amount equivalent to taking almost 1.5 million cars off the road.
  • Fueling investment in the economy and education of San Antonio.

Since then, San Antonio has seen seven companies set up shop and contribute to the local economy. SunEdison and OCI Solar Power have built five solar farms here generating 129 megawatts of non polluting, renewable energy for greater San Antonio, with five more planned by 2018.

Mission Solar Energy opened its doors in September to become the first n-type solar panel manufacturing plant in the United States. KACO new energy has been producing solar inverters here since July of 2013, moving its headquarters to San Antonio after production began.

Greenstar, an LED manufacturing company, also relocated and opened a new factory here to manufacture more than 25,000 efficient LED lights for San Antonio’s streetlights. Consert, Silver Spring Networks, and Landis+Gyr, companies that focus on smart grid technologies and infrastructure have all opened or will open offices in San Antonio.

(Image) Economic activity from NEE partners and companies has resulted in $802 million in economic impacts to the San Antonio community.
Economic activity from NEE partners and companies has resulted in $802 million in economic impacts to the San Antonio community.

These companies’ office leases, and local hiring of fulltime staff and contractors boosts the local economy — and in addition, contractual agreements call for New Energy Economy partners to invest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives in San Antonio. So far, $1.2 million has been distributed of $13.3 million committed.

“We’re about halfway to the $1.6 billion contractually committed in economic impact,” said Cris Eugster, CPS Energy executive vice president and chief generation and strategy officer. “We’re also right on track for reaching or exceeding our goal of creating 1,045 full-time jobs.”


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Monika Maeckle

Monika is a contributor to our newsroom.