turner's legacy

In final State of the City speech, Houston mayor addresses resiliency, energy transition efforts

"I am proud of the city that I shall pass forward." Photo courtesy of the city of Houston

For his eighth and final time, Mayor Sylvester Turner delivered the State of the City address last week, and he highlighted some of the gains within his tenure.

"We are greener, more compassionate, more united, and more forward-moving than we can ever imagine," says Mayor Turner. “What I can say to Houstonians is that I have given you my best, and I am proud of the city that I shall pass forward.”

At the event, which boasted a sold-out crowd of 1,500 Houstonians, Mayor turned announced some of the initiatives he's most proud of accomplishing and revealed release of “A Winning Legacy,” a book detailing his legacy.

“Together, we have faced many storms – seven federally declared disasters in eight years. From floods or a freeze, from a Super Bowl or the pandemic, we rose and met the challenges of our times,” says the mayor in his speech. “From inequities in neighborhoods investments to billions of dollars in pension unfunded liabilities, from One Safe Houston to One Clean Houston, we confronted each issue head on and set the city on firmer footing.”

Mayor Turner goes on to name the other storms that hit Houston during his tenure, and how resiliency and the energy transition became major themes of this office.

"We are the energy capital of the world," he says to the crowd. "We purchase more renewable energy than any other city in the United States. ... We lead the country in renewables."

In the address, Mayor Turner mentions his work on a project, announced last year, to convert a former landfill into a solar farm.

"The Sunnyside Solar Farm, which will be the largest urban solar farm in the country, will be operational by 2024," he says.

Mayor Turner wraps up his speech, which is available in its entirety on the city's YouTube page, with noting that he is leaving the next mayor — who will be decided in next month's election — with a $420 million surplus. When Mayor Turner was elected in 2015, the city had a $160 million deficit.

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A View From HETI

A View From UH

This new Texas wind farm is now partly powering Target Corp. Photo via swiftcurrentenergy.com

A Texas wind energy project has officially delivered and is actively providing power to its customer, Target Corp.

Boston-based Swift Current Energy, which has an office in Houston, announced this week that its 197 MW Castle Gap Wind project is operational. It has the capacity to create enough pollution-free energy to power more than 50,000 homes annually.

"Castle Gap Wind is a momentous project for Swift Current Energy as we grow our projects under asset management and operations," Eric Lammers, CEO and co-founder of Swift Current Energy, says in a news release. "Castle Gap Wind is one of the earliest projects supported by the Inflation Reduction Act, and we are thankful for our partners at Target, Goldman Sachs, MUFG, CaixaBank and of course the entire Swift Current Energy team who helped make the Project possible."

Goldman Sachs provided the tax equity for the project, and Target and Swift Current have established long-term virtual power purchase agreement. Additionally, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, or MUFG, and CaixaBank provided project financing.

"Goldman Sachs is pleased to partner with Swift Current Energy on their Castle Gap Wind project," Ryan Newman, head of Tax Equity at Goldman Sachs, says in the release. "Goldman Sachs is committed to financing the energy transition and supporting sponsors like Swift Current that are developing sustainable infrastructure in an effort to combat climate change."

The project is located in the Mills and Lampasas Counties, which are around 90 miles northwest of Austin.

"This Castle Gap Wind contract is a part of our commitment to renewable energy and is one example of how we are leveraging our size and scale to benefit people, the planet and drive our business forward," Erin Tyler, Target's vice president of property management, says in the release.

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