With the states' electric grid straining under the demands of summer heat, experts agree that a growing Texas needs more energy. But with the nation’s cleanest natural gas power generation facility under construction in Temple, help is on the way.
"This is a huge, huge project that will have significance to central Texas for 20 years," Lee Peterson with the Temple Economic Development Corporation said.
Once stalled by the economic downturn, Dallas-based energy developer Panda Power is now racing ahead with a new natural gas power plant in southeast Temple.
The company says the state-of-the-art generator will utilize the most advanced combustion turbine and emissions-control technology, earning its ranking among the most environmentally friendly facilities of its kind in the nation.
"The Panda folks are very concerned about the environment, very concerned about the way they generate the electricity and we were very comfortable with them," Temple’s Mayor Bill Jones said.
The project is expected to create about 700 construction jobs, about 30 permanent jobs and have a local economic impact of about $1.6 billion over the next 10 years, according to Peterson.
"That's a huge investment in our community—the tax dollars that will come off of that investment are significant," Mayor Jones said.
City leaders say it's already making a difference
"We're starting to see home sales get back up again, building permits coming back up, our sales taxes consistently up," Peterson said.
The plant's developer says the Temple plant should go online by the end of 2014, producing enough power for about 750,000 Texas households.