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Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development (SEED) and NTE Energy hosted a luncheon at the Sweetwater Country Club on Tuesday to introduce the Pecan Creek Energy Center project to various leaders in Sweetwater and Nolan County.
The plant will be located on Highway 70, 18 miles south of Sweetwater. The 200-300 MW natural gas electric generating peaking facility will be one of the most reliable and clean sources of capacity and energy in ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas).
Tim Eves, the Senior Vice President (SVP) of Development introduced the team members that were present at the luncheon: Mackenzie Miller - Senior Project Engineer; Danielle Milman - SVP, External Affairs; Mike Bradley - SVP, Commercial; Mark Mirabito, COO; Dave Groleau - Director, Business Development.
Also introduced from Mitsubishi were Paul Thompson - VP, Sales and Pete Renz - Director, Marketing and Sales. The project will employ Mitsubishi's advanced turbine technology in a simple cycle configuration and operate as a peaking unit, thus providing backup power for local wind generation.
NTE energy was founded in 2009 with a goal to create clean and renewable gas. Eves shared that the three things that brought the company to the area were the abundance of infrastructure, a good market to sell in and the community that openly welcomes companies.
Six months ago, NTE and Mitubishi began to develop three projects, two which are located in southwest Ohio and North Carolina. The other project, the Pecan Creek Energy Center in Nolan County, will connect to the state's CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zone) line and is a good fit for wind power.
In addition, they are working with Texas Governor Rick Perry's office in regards to permits, so that the project will be recognized by the state. With a $200 million investment, the project should bring 100 jobs during construction, with 10 to 15 employees during operation.
Bradley briefly explained why West Texas and Nolan County was such a good fit for their company because of the tremendous source of energy that comes from the windmills. They want to harness the wind energy in the area in order to supply clean and firm energy.
Thompson stresses that the plant would serve as a back-up to the wind when it isn't blowing and electricity is needed, not a replacement. Mitsubishi's partnership with NTE would result in the most efficient gas turbines, as the plant would allow for the company to take advantage of the $7 billion CREZ line that was built in Texas and makes for a good region to build the plant.
The executive director of SEED, Ken Becker, briefly shared about his recent trip to the NTE office in Florida, how their culture resembles West Texas with its family atmosphere. He thanked the SEED board for allowing him to take part in this travel opportunity, and encouraged those in attendance to let the public know that this new venture will not replace the wind energy and will not use water to produce electricity.
Various leaders shared their excitement about the new plant and expressed their support, including Nolan County Judge Tim Fambrough, Blackwell Mayor Laura Rozzlle and Sweetwater Mayor Greg Wortham.
With the site secured in the fourth quarter of 2013, the first quarter of 2014 involved interconnection application and permit applications. Permits are expected to be received by the fourth quarter of 2014, with a financial close and ground breaking anticipated at this time as well.
The commercial operation date for the Pecan Creek Energy Center is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2016.