COVER: A 540-megawatt replacement for the Ferguson power plant at Horseshoe Bay is expected to be online in 2014. Under an agreement approved this month by the Lower Colorado River Authority Board and the San Marcos City Council, the city will own 3.52 percent of the energy generated by the facility. LCRA PHOTO
STAFF AND SUBMITTED REPORTS
The city of San Marcos will be a minority partner in a new 540-megawatt power plant on Lake LBJ under construction by the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Under an agreement approved by the LCRA board on Jan. 16, the city will own 3.52 percent of electricity generated by the new Thomas C. Ferguson plant at Horseshoe Bay. The city will pay 3.52 percent of the plant construction cost which is expected to amount to about $18 million, according to Tom Taggart, the city’s Public Services director.
The San Marcos City Council approved the deal on Jan. 16.
“The city’s share in the plant will benefit our retail electric distribution system as well as our ratepayers. The project will help us maintain stable and competitively priced power costs over the long term,” Mayor Daniel Guerrero said.
LCRA is replacing a 37-year-old 420-MW facility at its current location at Horseshoe Bay on Lake LBJ. The plant will be a combined-cycle plant, which uses a gas turbine system and a steam-cycle system to generate electricity. A combined-cycle power plant uses about 35 percent less fuel than a traditional natural gas-fired plant.
“The new natural gas-fired power plant will be one of the most efficient and environmentally responsible generating facilities operating in Texas,” said Becky Motal, LCRA General Manager. “This plant will provide our customers with competitively priced wholesale electric power.”
LCRA has contracted with Fluor Corporation for the Ferguson plant replacement project and broke ground in April 2012. The plant is scheduled to be on-line in 2014. The old plant on the site will be decommissioned after the new plant is completed.
The city of San Marcos has a 30 year agreement approved in 2011 to buy wholesale power from LCRA. That contract allows the city to participate in LCRA’s power generation projects based on the percentage of electric load used by the community.