Why One Conservative Texas City Went 100% Renewable | Hot Mess 🌎

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Peril & Promise is a public media initiative from WNET telling human stories of climate change and its solutions. Learn more at: www.pbs.org/wnet/peril-and-promise/
Georgetown, TX is a conservative city in the middle of oil and gas country that's committed to 100% renewable energy, and we could learn a lot from them.
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Special thanks to the city of Georgetown and Mayor Dale Ross.
Host/Writer/Editor-In-Chief: Joe Hanson, Ph.D.
Creative Director: David Schulte
Editors/Animators: Derek Borsheim
Producers: Stephanie Noone & Amanda Fox
Story Editor: Alex Reich
Produced by PBS Digital Studios
Theme Music: Eric Friend/Optical Audio
Music: APM
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Published on


Nov 1, 2018

pbspbs digital studiosclimateclimate changeclimate scienceglobal warminggreenhouse gasC02environmentenvironmentalnatureenergygreen energyclean energycarbon dioxideconservativerepublicanrenewable energysolar energywind energysustainable energysolar powerwindsolar panelswind powerrenewablesrenewable energy sourcespoweralternative energytexasgeorgetown texasenvironmental science




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Comments 300
SerjEpic 12 days ago
Something people should learn about Texas is that we are not just an OIl Economy, we are an *Energy Economy*. There is a reason why we have a separate power grid from the rest of the US. Oil was big for us in the past and wind is our future (hopefully solar too). We currently produce about 25% of the US's wind energy. Energy is our gold.
Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee 18 days ago
The host is horrible associating those who care for the planet as only Democrats. Shameful
Andreas Wagner
Andreas Wagner 21 day ago
They are not 100% green. Just the electrical energy. The other sectors are still not renewable at all.
4.11 and Alaska, hawai, ... doesn't habe energy!?!?!?
panzer6398 Month ago
I see a lot of oil burning vehicles.
MegaMementoMori Month ago
I have the same opinions as that mayor - I am against all this climate change hubbub, and I am proud of my country (Poland) for blocking the zero carbon 2050 EU objective, but I installed a heat pump in my house (ok... technically supported my parents in the decision to install it in our house XD) and plan to get solar panels in the near future - because this is an excellent economic decision! You pay once and have free energy and heating from now on - after a decade and some time you will save enough money this way to essentially have these devices for free.
Jose Cruz
Jose Cruz 2 months ago
Truly an inspiring story I hope to be a role model for the whole of US.
Jose Cruz
Jose Cruz 2 months ago
"We let facts dictate the best decision to the people we were elected to serve." 👌
EmLill Things
EmLill Things 2 months ago
Wait,,, a republican with republican values rather than ideological idolization? I thought they went extinct at the turn of the century.
John Peric
John Peric Month ago
That's honestly all politicians at this point. The world's going nuts.
leila d
leila d 2 months ago
I noticed that you said that Texas had its own grid but when the map lit up, not all of Texas was on that grid.
Mike Dombroski
Mike Dombroski 2 months ago
This is a parody, right? I didn't realize Micky Rooney was still alive.
erick 3 months ago
I live in Georgetown tx
Lone Lump
Lone Lump 4 months ago
I’ve lived in Georgetown Texas for 13 years now and I never knew this lmao
Robert Williams
Robert Williams 4 months ago
Ding, Ding, Ding... Business!
Bentley Parish
Bentley Parish 4 months ago
DAYUMMMMM! !!! I just saw CONSERTIVE Progressive. AND, he powers his town with 100 percent renewable energy. AWESOME!!!
John Peric
John Peric Month ago
Why are you surprised? Plenty of conservatives care about the environment, they simply think the way in which Democrats approach it is idiotic.
Ken Royall
Ken Royall 5 months ago
The town has lost 30 million dollars so far. It's a bust.
Joy Havana
Joy Havana 4 months ago
Rusca8 5 months ago
You say energy but mean electricity, huh?
Steven Miller
Steven Miller 5 months ago
5:38 Wow! a republican who says, "It's not a Republican or Democratic issue." I thought "Democrat" was the only form they were allowed to use as an adjective.
kb csDJvno \]][,.
kb csDJvno \]][,. 6 months ago
The High Price of Green Posturing moonbattery.com/the-high-price-of-green-posturing/ 6 Feb 2019 Green posturing comes at a high price. Fortunately for pols, they aren’t the ones who pay it - we are (" Texas town’s environmental narcissism makes Al Gore happy while sticking its citizens with the bill" www.foxnews.com/opinion/texas-towns-environmental-narcissism-makes-al-gore-happy-while-sticking-its-citizens-with-the-bill ) Political leaders in a college town in central Texas won wide praise from former Vice President Al Gore and the larger Green Movement when they decided to go “100 percent renewable” seven years ago. Now, however, they are on the defensive over electricity costs that have their residents paying more than $1,000 per household in higher electricity charges over the last four years. That’s right - $1,219 per household in higher electricity costs for the 71,000 residents of Georgetown, Texas, all thanks to the decision of its Republican mayor, Dale Ross, to launch a bold plan to shift the city’s municipal utility to 100 percent renewable power in 2012 when he was on the city council. … His decision to bet on renewables resulted in the city budget getting dinged by a total of $29.8 million in the four years from 2015 to 2018. Georgetown’s electric costs were $3.5 million over budget in 2015, ballooning to $6.3 million in 2016, the same year the mayor locked his municipal utility into 20- and 25-year wind and solar energy contracts to make good on his 100 percent renewable pledge Here’s what residents got for the money: Ross was elevated to celebrity status, appearing in scores of articles and videos, both at home and abroad. Al Gore made it a point to feature the Texas Republican mayor at renewable energy conferences as well. Ross was even featured in one of Gore’s documentaries They must be so proud - even if the 100% renewable energy claim is “nothing more than spurious sloganeering” because “wind and solar power can’t be relied on to keep the lights on 24/7/365.” After AOC and the rest of the radicalized Democrats take power, the whole country may be as proud - and as broke - as the residents of Georgetown, Texas.
Gandwanamumma 6 months ago
Look at the plastic bottles, so you are not Zero Waste??? This is just as big a problem for the EARTH s future and clean and grean planet!
David Beaulieu
David Beaulieu 6 months ago
Still hate conservatives but him not so much. Should be a progressive
John Peric
John Peric Month ago
Sounds very progressive
Jake Norrie
Jake Norrie 7 months ago
So proud of my little city!
Gamma Ray
Gamma Ray 7 months ago
tuco james
tuco james 7 months ago
City Al Gore Featured in Movie Is Losing Millions After Going 100% Green Energy ruvid.net/video/video-L4eeHpsAXaA.html&pbjreload=10
THE SILENT GOD 7 months ago
Actually, according to latest reports, this town is losing big money due to their variable renewables plan...
Mr. Boomguy
Mr. Boomguy 8 months ago
Best republican mayer I have seen.
Jake 8 months ago
Please please please! I’m begging all elected officials, regardless of party affiliation, make decisions based on facts. The stereotypes associated with what you are ‘supposed’ to believe or choose based on affiliation are extremely damaging!! This is a perfect example of fact based decisions regardless of affiliation and stereotypes.
Amy Sternheim
Amy Sternheim 8 months ago
This is like the coal mining history museum in Kentucky that put up solar panels to save long term money.
rockenrollbass 8 months ago
"It's not rocket science." Tell that to ted Cruz and your Republican buds.
John Peric
John Peric Month ago
All politicians*
Sergio Díaz Nila
Sergio Díaz Nila 8 months ago
the words we use affect our thinking, and i'm convinced USA is hurting itself a lot by the false equivalence that liberal equals democrat. No, Liberal is not any random person that says "i'm a liberal" and then joins a party and then adopts the party agenda. No a Liberal is anyone that follows any of the branches of the general ideology of Liberalism, like Economic Liberalism (What Adam Smith created) or Classical Liberalism (what Austrian School created) or NeoLiberalism (more Austrian School Economists defending Classical Liberalism) or Social Democracy (Keynesianism) Both Republicans & Democrats are Liberals.
Itoro Okon
Itoro Okon 8 months ago
Not everybody on Earth has access to electricity.
ELK 8 months ago
Never mind that Williamson County voted for Beto O'Rourke over Ted Cruz and voted for the Democrat over Republican incumbent John Carter. Yeah, so much for that mumbo jumbo about being in the hotbed of conservatism. And forget about how we've been told for over a century how oil is a fossil fuel and how it's a depleting resource all the while oil pockets keep refilling and we have ample amounts of oil. There's some fact based science that repeatedly observable but who cares about real science right?
Appaloosa Dreams
Appaloosa Dreams 8 months ago
I'm a die hard Bernie Sanders' fan and I love this guy!!!
John Peric
John Peric Month ago
THE SILENT GOD 8 months ago
100% Renewables is not our real goal, our real goal is quitting fossil fuels and switching to 100% clean energy. insisting blindly on 100%renewables and opposing, excluding nuclear, which is a very powerful empirically proven tool, will mean winning the fight against climate change will be practically impossible.
John Peric
John Peric Month ago
I couldn't care less about climate change, that isn't what's alarming. What's alarming is the massive amount of other damage done by fossil fuels which certainly threatens us, that being ocean acidification and such being one of the biggest problems.
THE SILENT GOD 8 months ago
in other words, it's only 100% renewable if you ignore the fact that most of the energy in the grid still comes from fossil fuels. this is just a cheap world play, it is not a real 100% renewable electricity town. you are misleading people
Greg Kientop
Greg Kientop 9 months ago
If you understand intermittency, then you should also be aware also of battery banks, flywheel energy storage, pumped hydro storage, compressed air storage, and soon... super capacitors. Any SMART grid will have these to balance intermittency. Still attached to your dumb grid? Can't help you there. If your thinking is still intermittently stuck in the 1900s, look them up. No magic bullets, -the magic is in the final result. The resulting grid is more complicated, but also more resilient and adaptable.
Mario D. Zmaj
Mario D. Zmaj 9 months ago
praising republicans for going clean is like praising a junkie for not shooting dope up their veins. Like, I got through my whole life without using dope, where are my compliments?
Andrei Canonazo
Andrei Canonazo 9 months ago
6:35 I think Yeah
Norbert Baylon
Norbert Baylon 9 months ago
This story makes me smile....my faith in humanity is restored(a bit but at least)
penguins forall
penguins forall 9 months ago
That kind of business deal is called collective bargaining. The more you know.
fuckfannyfiddlefart 9 months ago
Now the mayor just needs to go 100% whole food vegan!
Dan Catalano
Dan Catalano 2 months ago
fuckfannyfiddlefart or flexitarian
Dhindara Vrel
Dhindara Vrel 9 months ago
That's precisely what we need to do to get those aboard who care only about the bottom line and nothing else - bring the price of carbon emissions up to make sure they're no longer competitive.
Moses Jonson
Moses Jonson 9 months ago
I want London to go down Georgetown path, 🙏 hopefully, we will reach that goal of 100% green energy in London, I hope more LNDNers will turn to more Hybrids and pure EV cars. Other than that I love this.
John Peric
John Peric Month ago
So conservative and lower taxes with people making good compromise
Moses Jonson
Moses Jonson 9 months ago
finally, Republicans are wising up ( a few of them, to say the least).
kor'vre 9 months ago
IDRES Keyboardwarrior
That’s nice , keep it up!
Russell Fine Arts
Russell Fine Arts 9 months ago
Virtually all new utility power generation contracts are solar and wind so in the very near future, the entire U.S. grid will be renewable energy, it's inevitable.
Field 9 months ago
I love how your voice gets slightly lower when you're talking to the mayor vs. in the cut aways
Greg Simones
Greg Simones 9 months ago
Fantastic job on this video. I hope to use this in my college class. You will actually find that most Republicans are open to innovation and certainly good business and being accountable to their citizens. I am a Conservative minded scientist but politics never colors my teaching as science and fact are sacred to me.
Brandon Musser
Brandon Musser 9 months ago
conservatives like the environment to you know
panstriato2 9 months ago
Great for the town. Please stop calling electrical energy just energy.
Fynn Schumann
Fynn Schumann 9 months ago
Another problem in the US is that a lot of energy is wasted, like the fan in the shop.There you could install a motion sensor, the same with fridges, light bulbs and of course in industrial processes.
TurambarFR 9 months ago
Well, they still seem to have a lot of big cars...
Phlaked Corn
Phlaked Corn 9 months ago
Definitely not 100% renewable, maybe if they all gave up their cars, and actually generated and stored the electricity and made all of the own food and goods, instead they are buying the electricity from a source that literally couldn't supply 100% renewable, using oil for their cars and buying products shipped from around the world.
Tim Jadeglans
Tim Jadeglans 9 months ago
about 30% of all energy used is oil even when the grid is 100% renewable. Mostly because of cars and trucks. But at least the argument "electric cars aren't better because the energy comes from coal" gets a lot smaller and hopefully makes the transition easier
Ethan W
Ethan W 9 months ago
This made me feel really good
ArthursHD 9 months ago
It is great, but 100% renewable electricity ≠ 100% green/renewable energy. Heating/cooling and transportation is not included. Let alone footprint of goods and services.
καμιά ψυχή
καμιά ψυχή 9 months ago
Where's that "why Texas has its own electric grid" video? ¶=
Mihai Bica
Mihai Bica 9 months ago
Now if he could set another example and hit the gym and a diet...
Topaz Nora
Topaz Nora 9 months ago
Unlike Democrats, he didnt force the entire city to spend their own money to buy solar panels they dont need. He didnt infringe on the free will of his citizens just to go green.... liberals take notes! No tax raises, no infringement!
fireofenergy 9 months ago
How does Georgetown get it's clean energy at night when the wind isn't blowing? They use credits that buy even more RE during the day or windy times. However, there's only so many credits to go around. Not all of America (or world) will be able to power themselves 100% _all the time_ unless MORE is built, much more. And then, put most of that extra into storage. Now, it ain't cheap. This is why we need to just demand a *molten salt reactor for every town.* Screw the fossil fuels backup, which is most of the time (not "just a little backup").
John Peric
John Peric Month ago
Most wind energy is produced at night
Christian Lassen
Christian Lassen 9 months ago
I usually vote Republican and love this guy and everything he represents in this interview. This is how to win the environmental debate: it has to make sense for the individual as well as the community/nation. Republicans aren't against the environment, we just don't want the community at large to trounce or put down the individual. And no,the individual isn't more important than the community, they are equal. That's a hard balance to make and compromise and concessions need to be made in both directions. When going green makes financial sense, everyone will do it, or almost everyone. Without coercion.
Kalvin N
Kalvin N 9 months ago
does nuclear ount as renewable according to these renewable energy credits
THE SILENT GOD 8 months ago
it's all semantics. plus, our goal is clean energy anyway, not 100%renewables. so, nuclear should be deployed regardless
salle rc
salle rc 9 months ago
What does $18 per MW really means? (@2:32) Doesn't make sense.
Gege Bubu
Gege Bubu 9 months ago
Great video, great story. But when saying that the town runs on "100% renewable *energy*", you really mean that it runs on 100% *electricity*. Energy would include industrial processes, transport, agriculture etc.. 100% renewable energy would be totally amazing (while 100% renewable electricity is great nonetheless!).
Mikes Science
Mikes Science 9 months ago
Let's move this mayor up in politics!
Roger Starkey
Roger Starkey 9 months ago
Can you generate power from hot sauce?
Michael Chadband
Michael Chadband 9 months ago
And then you see the vehicles. A good start but a long way to go
Wyndham Coffman
Wyndham Coffman 9 months ago
"We let the facts dictate the best decision" Republicans haven't used facts in twenty years; he is clearly an independent in disguise as a Republican.
Kristen McPherson
Kristen McPherson 9 months ago
Joe, your accent is coming out.
DuizhangLu 9 months ago
Damn, Joe is reeeeally tall
SuicideBunny6 9 months ago
As a chili lover, I'm jealous of that Hot Sauce Shop
SuicideBunny6 9 months ago
"Clean water, clean air is not a Republican or a Democrat issue, it's an American issue." IT'S A GLOBAL ISSUE
Digital Nation
Digital Nation 7 months ago
in case you didnt know, america = the world, outside america = the rest of the world.
John Piontkowski
John Piontkowski 9 months ago
why didnt you mention anything about their giant storage battery on Rabbit Hill. 10MWh (and growing)
TheGino820 9 months ago
The problem is that when there aren't sun and wind you can't produce elettricity by renewable and you have to produce whit fossil fuel, we need new tecnology and storage system
TheGino820 9 months ago
Every night there isn't sun, and in winter there is less sun than in summer. And the wind is not so continuative. The tides are another story...
Roger Starkey
Roger Starkey 9 months ago
Are there really that many days where there isn't sun *or* wind? As long as the earth is spinning (I said it!!) and the moon is there, there will be both, not to mention tides.
jan schilling
jan schilling 9 months ago
jan schilling
jan schilling 9 months ago
W.D. Callahan
W.D. Callahan 9 months ago
I would love to hear the story of how and why Texas has its own power grid.
Randolph Thomas II
Randolph Thomas II 9 months ago
I'm okay with this. Nice to see an R with common sense -- at least in the energy department. We'll see about the rest.
Amuzic 9 months ago
Green Energy being a political agenda really looks silly to the rest of the world which is not america. In other countries, the opposition to green energy mainly comes from corporates and not politicians. It's time america(both democrats and republicans) to move beyond the idea that green energy being democrat or a liberal thing. Cheers to that cheery Mayor.
EmLill Things
EmLill Things 2 months ago
In Germany, the AFD (far-right) declared recently the green party to be their greatest enemy.
Linus Fondin
Linus Fondin 9 months ago
I Love that guy! (the mayor)
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