$170 million of solar power coming to East Texas

$170 million of solar power coming to East Texas

Pretty soon, project announcements of multiple hundreds of megawatts of solar power in Texas are going to get old. We’re going to get bored with massive clean energy power plants, and it’s going to be old news that Texas is both wind and sun powered with touches of finely tuned energy storage. In a few years, our curiosity, investors and the Texas grid will be satiated. That day isn’t today.

Lendlease has announced a 200 MW-AC solar power project, projected at $170 million in cost, to be built in Fort Bend County Texas. The plant is aiming to go online by March 1, 2020 and will cover 1,800 acres leased from local landowners.

The project owners will receive ten years of tax abatements. As part of the application for the abatements the real estate developer showed other projects competing internally with the Texas project for funding:

1. Nazareth Solar – 200 MW, Swisher County, Texas
2. Hudson Solar – 85 MW, Fresno County, California
3. Firehawk Solar & Storage – 75 MW + 75MW 4-Hr, Kern County, California

pv magazine suspects some of these projects might get headlines later on.

Construction is planned to begin next year, and the facility is expected to be up and running in 2020. The project expect to employ 150 people directly in 2019, increasing to 202 people in 2020 – before dropping to two people running the facility indefinitely. These two jobs pay $63,000/year.

In application documents dating from late 2017, it is noted that final designs are not yet complete. More recent media suggests approximately 700,000 solar panels on single-axis trackers. CenterPoint Energy owns the local transmission lines.

One piece that stood out in the document were the twenty unique parcels, and at least nine unique owners, that had to be cobbled together to build out this piece of land:

  • 1,280 acres in the James Frazier Survey, Abstract 173 owned by….
  • 1,334 acres in the Mark Smith Survey, Abstract 314 owned by…
  • 115.2 acres in the B.B.B. and C.R.R. Company Survey, Abstract 120 owned by…
  • 16.0 acres in the William Goodman Survey, Abstract 185 owned by
  • 19.5 acres in the B.B.B. and C.R.R. Company Survey, Abstract 120 owned by…
  • 280 acres in the William Goodman Survey, Abstract 185 owned by
  • 3.5 acres in the William Goodman Survey, Abstract 185 owned by
  • 320 acres in the B.B.B. and C.R.R. Company, Abstract 119 owned by
  • 320 acres in the B.B.B. and C.R.R. Company, Abstract 119 owned by…
  • 36.0 acres in the SA and MG Survey, Abstract 327 owned by…
  • 4.0 acres in the William Goodman Survey, Abstract 185 owned by…
  • 4.0 acres in the William Goodman Survey, Abstract 185 owned by…
  • 4.0 acres in the William Goodman Survey, Abstract 185 owned by…
  • 4.0 acres in the William Goodman Survey, Abstract 185 owned by…
  • 4.3 acres in the William Goodman Survey, Abstract 185 owned by…
  • 4.8 acres in the William Goodman Survey, Abstract 185 owned by…
  • 437 acres in the German Emigration Company Survey, Abstract 180 owned by…
  • 6.8 acres in the William Goodman Survey, Abstract 185 owned by…
  • 92.6 acres in the B.B.B. and C.R.R. Company Survey, Abstract 120 owned by…
  • 96.9 acres in the HG Taylor Survey, Abstract 336 owned by…

As of the most recent Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) report, the project was still listed as incomplete and having a 240 MW-AC system size. The interconnection point was noted as a 138kV tap at 44514 orchard – 44190 E Bernard.

And speaking of the ERCOT report and the ongoing solar powered march across the state, in the most recent projections for solar power additions we’re seeing 1.3 GW of solar power contracts signed with financial security posted through the end of 2020, and another 981 MW with an interconnection agreement signed – but no paperwork showing financial security yet delivered to ERCOT. Prior calculations suggest the Texas grid has an appetite for at least 11 GW of solar power, just to balance out the existing wind in the state alone.

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