FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.— City of Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan won top honors in this year’s U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards. The Mayor was honored in the small city category (under 100,000 population) for Fayetteville’s Wastewater Solar Power and Storage Project. Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles received the award in the large city category for the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative. The two mayors, joined by 10 other mayoral awardees, were honored today during the annual Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards luncheon, which was held as part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors 87th Annual Meeting in Honolulu, HI.
Celebrating its 13th anniversary, the Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards Program, an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Walmart, recognizes the nation’s mayors for their successful and innovative energy and climate-protection efforts.
“Climate change is affecting cities around the world,” said Mayor Lioneld Jordan. “The City of Fayetteville is committed to honoring goals of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Climate Agreement, starting right here in our own community. We want to lead by example for our residents, students, businesses, and utility partners—showing the nation that supporting low-carbon initiatives not only promotes renewable energy and efficiency—it also creates opportunities for good jobs and investments in the Northwest Arkansas region. Fayetteville’s Wastewater Solar Power and Storage Project demonstrates our commitment.”
Fayetteville’s Wastewater Solar Power and Storage Project is a collaboration with Ozarks Electric Cooperative and Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI). Constructed by TPI on the City’s two wastewater treatment facility properties, the project features 87 acres of sun-tracking solar photovoltaic panels and on-site battery storage. The capacity of the entire system totals 10 megawatts of solar power generation and 24 megawatt-hours of battery storage. The system will produce more than 18 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy each year and offset 100 percent of the electricity consumed at the wastewater treatment facility properties, which are the City’s largest electricity-consuming accounts. On-site batteries allow Ozarks Electric Cooperative to draw from stored solar electricity instead of purchasing it from the grid.
The project will raise clean energy consumption by City facilities from 16 percent to 72 percent and is expected to reduce the City’s carbon footprint by 10,245 metric tons of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions annually. The project will save the City approximately $6 million over 20 years. Fayetteville will see a 3.9-year return on its initial $717,000 investment of onsite electrical upgrades.
Ozarks Electric will upgrade and maintain existing electricity connections at the sites. TPI will own 99 percent of the solar systems, and Fayetteville will own one percent. TPI will own 100 percent of the storage systems and will operate both the storage and the solar array systems. Construction began in March, and net metering for the project was approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission on June 21. Power generation and storage is expected to go online in late July. This will be a leading technology project for the entire mid-South.
“This project represents a win-win-win collaboration between Ozarks Electric, TPI, and the City that helps provide cost-effective energy security for the City of Fayetteville while also protecting our environment,” said Fayetteville Environmental Director, Peter Nierengarten. “It also showcases how the ambitious energy policy goals in Fayetteville’s Energy Action Plan can send market signals, help inspire partnerships, and drive action.”
Fayetteville’s Energy Action Plan (EAP), adopted by Fayetteville City Council in January 2018, created the City’s framework to guide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission, address local effects of climate change, improve energy efficiency, and increase clean energy production. It was the first adopted in Arkansas and the 54th in the nation. One of the key goals of Fayetteville’s EAP is to move to 100 percent clean energy for City government operations by the year 2030. Currently, the city’s energy consumption is 16 percent clean energy, with some purchased from the electrical grid and some generated directly by existing power arrays at City buildings.
For more information about the tri-lateral agreement, the solar power generation and battery storage project, or Fayetteville’s Energy Action Plan, please visit this webpage: www.fayetteville-ar.gov/energyactionplan.
Full descriptions of the 2019 Mayors’ Climate Protection Award winning programs can be found at: https://www.usmayors.org/climateprotection/2019awards.
For more information about USCM’s 87th Annual Conference, please visit www.usmayors.org.