The Brownsville Public Utilities Board officials recently announced plans for a massive power generation project on 270 acres at FM 511 and Old Alice Road that will energize the local economy while securing the city’s future electricity needs.
The city-owned utility company signed the development-and-purchase agreement with Tenaska Inc., an independent energy company based in Omaha, Neb., to buy an ownership interest in a 800-megawatt, natural gas-fired power plant Tenaska plans to develop, with an expected completion date of 2016.
Oscar Garcia, BPUB vice chairman, said that the new plant would remove a major obstacle to companies moving operations to Brownsville.
“From an infrastructure standpoint, we’ve always been limited by what we didn’t have,” he said. “Companies would come to us and say, ‘We need X amount of power,’ and we didn’t have it. Or we would say, ‘You have to put in $150 million of your own infrastructure to be able to move down here.’ That is no longer going to be the case.”
Mike Roth, Tenaska’s director of development, said the proposed plant “is a real key driver for economic growth in the area.”
BPUB’s ownership interest would entitle it to 200 megawatts of capacity from the Tenaska Brownsville Generating Station, enough to meet the electricity needs of roughly 100,000 Brownsville area homes, officials said. The plant would use water — converted into steam to drive turbines — from BPUB’s Robindale wastewater treatment plant.