Podcast

PODCAST: Evergreen Seeks to Speed Texas Solar Rollout with New ‘Goldilocks’ Model

Listening to public comments in 2019, then CPS Energy COO Cris Eugster (right) beside former CPS CEO Paula Gold-Williams. Image: Greg Harman

Former CPS Energy exec Cris Eugster’s new venture seeks to drive Texas to 100-percent renewables with ‘Goldilocks’ solar farms while allowing companies to meet their sustainability goals.

The six-month-young Seattle-based solar company focused on Texas has three South Texas projects in development already.

Greg Harman

With record-breaking temps delivering a miserable summer onset in Texas, the state’s power grid has strained against unprecedented energy demand. All-time-high electricity-use records have been made and broken repeatedly in rapid succession. Throughout solar has been a star performer. As UT energy prof Michael Webber told CNN, the renewables sector has been “rocking,” at times supplying nearly 40 percent of the state’s total power generation.

Long positioned in wind power’s shadow, solar’s share of generation capacity in Texas—roughly four percent compared to wind’s nation-leading 20-percent slice—is set to explode. With increasingly large batteries coming in to firm up the intermittent-tech, sun power is without doubt the star attraction on the energy scene. As much as a third of new solar coming online nationally is expected to happen in Texas, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Will that be enough?

Cris Eugster, formerly chief operating officer of San Antonio-based CPS Energy, now lifting off a Seattle-based but Texas-focused solar startup, hopes to direct solar’s sudden rise to transformative levels.

“We think we can accelerate the pace to an energy transition to 100 percent renewables hopefully in the next decade,” Eugster told Deceleration this week.

Click the play button above to hear our interview with Eugster.

In this month’s Deceleration podcast, Eugster describes Evergreen’s unique model and why it could be a game changer taking solar to unseen heights in a handful of years. Unlike many other states, Texas lawmakers have yet to set a date to reach 100 percent renewables. But Eugster expects to make a impact on climate by targeting urban locations with mid-sized (and easily replicable) farms while helping companies to “green” their operations and stacking co-benefits like green jobs, pollinator gardens, and possibly even conservation easements to protect wildlife and water quality.

The Evergreen model could allow companies go 100-percent renewable in under a year, he said, while increasing the amount of low-carbon energy going into the grid.

“We put these 2050 goals out there but 2030 is where we’ve got to show meaningful progress. Velocity matters. The more cumulative it is the more dire the situation becomes,” he said.

“I feel like we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to figure out this energy transition and to tackle climate change.”

Enjoy to conversation.

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