Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sandy Creek Power Plant Expanding Construction

New Power Plant Project Progressing

A single smokestack 30 stories high looms on the horizon of this rural town 15 miles east of Waco. Some 275 people are working there to build the Sandy Creek coal-fired power plant. Up to a thousand more could join them before the plant opens in 2012. Once constructed, the plant would employ about 100. Already, the construction traffic has helped quadruple Riesel’s sales tax receipts this year.

A coalition of environmental groups who see the smokestack as a pollution menace are trying to stop the project. And with the prospect of carbon regulation clouding the future of the coal industry, they say the political winds may be blowing their way.

Earlier this year, Dynegy, the lead investor in the 900-megawatt Sandy Creek plant, sold off part of its interest in the plant. Last week, its chief executive, said the company was “re-evaluating” its role in new coal plants, including Sandy Creek. The Sandy Creek plant is being built by a joint venture between Dynegy and the privately held LS Power Group. The joint venture sold off interests in the plant to Brazos Electric Cooperative in 2007 and Lower Colorado River Authority this summer and now owns just 64 percent of the plant.

Officials at San Antonio-based Zachry Construction say they are moving ahead as quickly as they can. Zachry will be bringing in many of its own workers from outside the area, and already a large RV park is under construction near Riesel for those workers. Zachry is also hiring locally through an employment office it set up in the middle of Riesel, and local hires for jobs such as welders, pipefitters and electrical workers will increase as the project progresses. (Previously printed in the Waco Tribune Herald.)

Frontera Development is a full service real estate development firm based in Waco, Texas. The firm focuses on residential, commercial developments and master planned communities that emphasize the values of New Urbanism and Traditional Neighborhood Development.

For more information, contact Mark P. Felton II at 254-495-1241.

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