City of Lufkin announces new $700M electrical plant - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

City of Lufkin announces new $700M electrical plant

Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
LUFKIN, TX (News Release) - After receiving final approval of all necessary permits, Pinecrest Energy Center (known widely as Project 800) is ready to begin construction of its gas-fired, electrical generating plant in Lufkin.

Pinecrest, whose parent company is Coronado Power Ventures, and the City of Lufkin announced Tuesday morning that the business plans to build the $700 million facility on 83 acres near State 103 East and Loop 287. The press conference was held at Lufkin's Business Park.

Thad Chambers, Lufkin's economic development director, said the approval of the final Greenhouse Gas permit in August and all of the hard work done by ONCOR for Pinecrest's Interconnection agreement brings the project to the next step.

“An Interconnection agreement with ONCOR, means Pinecrest will be able to supply electricity to the grid," Chambers said. "They had to determine how to get the power from the plant to the main grid. Having determined a specific line and worked out an agreement, Pinecrest has completed the final stages and can move forward.”

Pinecrest plans to begin construction in the first quarter of 2015. The hope is to be operational by summer 2017 to meet peak demand.

The construction of the facility, according to a third-party report commissioned by Pinecrest, will generate approximately $1.4 billion in economic output. Plans call for 3,342 direct, indirect, and induced construction jobs during the multi-year project, which will generate $379 million in salaries for area workers.

Once the plant is operating, it will employ 25 to 30 workers with annual salaries in the $75,000 range, according to Pinecrest officials.

The plant is expected to produce 730 megawatts of electrical power, which can provide power to about 700,000 homes. It will utilize the most recent advanced emissions-control technology, which will make it one of the cleanest natural gas-fueled power plants in Texas.

For Lufkin residents, a proposed water rate increase is being delayed because it is expected that the plant's usage will provide the funds the City needed to pay for improvements to the system. The plant's water and sewer usage, expected to be in the $2 million range, should prevent residents' water rates from increasing for the foreseeable future, Chambers said.

Also a tax abatement will keep the company from having to pay to the city, college, and county for the first four years.

The project has been in the works for a long time, and Mayor Bob Brown said it was the foresight of the City in its purchase of the Abitibi water and the diligence of the 4B Corporation in purchasing land and developing the industrial park that has paid off in such a big way.

“The City should be complimented for being forward thinking to work on a project that took several years to come to fruition,” Chambers said. “The City leaders built a solid infrastructure of water and sewer lines. And now, the electric transmission lines will be upgraded coming into Lufkin because of this project. It's all beneficial for the City and residents.”

Keith Wright, who served as the interim Director of Economic Development, stated that, “It has taken a lot of effort by many people to get to this point, and our goal will be to help facilitate the project anyway we can in order to complete the construction as soon as possible. This is a great project for the City of Lufkin and Angelina County. This project will help to ensure that Lufkin will continue to grow and prosper for many years to come by increasing the property tax base for all taxing entities and by purchasing water and sewage treatment from the City of Lufkin.”

In the beginning, Coronado Ventures selected Lufkin as the site for their plant based in part on the availability of surface water. Although not all developed, the city has water capacity of 72 million gallons per day, while it's summer peak usage is currently 14 million gallons per day. This excess supply, once fully developed will provide for our citizens, current businesses, this new facility and new growth in the future.

Information requests may be sent to info@pinecrestenergycenter.com

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