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Renewable Power Comes To Texas Electric Car Owners

Thursday, April 07, 2011 - 09:22 AM

Richey Cook with his EV home charger

(Houston--Wendy Siegle, KUHF News) Austin-based power company Green Mountain Energy unveiled Texas's first pollution-free electricity package today for owners of electric vehicles (EVs), and Houston resident Richey Cook became the first to sign up for the package.

Cook says he liked the idea of driving a car that's not only tail-pipe emissions free, but downstream emissions-free as well. It’ll be a couple weeks before his Nissan Leaf gets delivered to his home. But when it arrives, he’ll be ready. Cook will be the first in Texas to drive a mass-produced electric car powered by wind-generated electricity. He’ll be charging his car with his home charger, which was just installed in his garage. The electricity will be produced by wind farms right here in Texas, which generates more wind power than any other state.

Cook says one of the reasons he’s making the switch to electric is to save money. “I was paying about $250 dollars a month in gas on my four-cylinder Mazda. And that’s gone up over $300 dollars," says Cook. He boasts that his EV will cost him around $45 dollars a month -- "and that’s using 11 cents a kilowatt which is the national average for electricity.”

Cook will be getting the electricity for his car through Green Mountain Energy. The power company has just launched a home electricity service specifically for EV owners. Green Mountain Energy’s Helen Brauner says when Cook charges his battery at home, the electricity won’t be coming from a fossil-fuel burning power plant, but from a renewable source. If you’re going to buy an electric vehicle, and if you charge it with just traditional electricity, then your electric vehicle is still essentially polluting," she says, "because the generation of that electricity is the largest source of industrial air pollution in the United States.”

NRG Energy, the parent company of Green Mountain, is rolling out charging infrastructure for electric vehicles around Houston this year. NRG plans to install 25 chargers by Labor Day, which will be available for public use. But unlike Cook’s home charger, the electricity for the public charging stations won’t necessarily come from a renewable energy source.

Listen to the story over at KUHF News.

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