The Stamford City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to move forward with the sale of their water to Tenaska.
"Tenaska is pleased to be able to enter into an agreement with Stamford for water to supply part of the needs of its proposed Trailblazer Energy Center in Nolan County," said Helen Manroe, Tenaska director of Development. "We know water is a valuable resource in West Texas, and in response we work toward agreements that meet plant needs without limiting the region’s ability to grow. This agreement will only use surplus treated city wastewater and surplus raw water from Lake Stamford, and would potentially provide a number of benefits for Stamford residents and businesses. The potential benefits include the City’s receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars before the plant uses any water and the City’s receipt of millions of dollars in long-term annual revenue."
With Stamford's approval, Tenaska will have access to about 250 million gallons of water a year — only a portion of what it will need to run its proposed power plant.
"Using the most water efficient technology available, Tenaska will reduce the plant’s water use by 90 percent," said Manroe.
The company still needs to find hundreds of millions of gallons more water and needs to go through an appeal process on its air permit before construction can begin. In addition, it is waiting to see what federal incentives there will be for a carbon sequestration system it's proposing, one that would allow the plant to capture 90 percent of the carbon dioxide that would otherwise enter the atmosphere and then sell it to enhance oil production in other parts of Texas.
"For Tenaska, the agreement brings the Trailblazer Energy Center a step closer to the day when it will introduce a new generation of coal-fueled power plants in Texas. It will provide baseload electricity to Texans – enough to power 600,000 homes around the clock," stated Manroe. "It will demonstrate commercial scale carbon capture at a coal-fed power plant, thus becoming a world model for sustainable coal-fueled energy generation. It will deliver carbon dioxide to boost oil production in the Permian Basin and enhance our nation’s energy independence."
Tenaska had met fierce opposition when it tried to get water from Abilene, a town not far from Stamford. Then it found that Sweetwater did not have enough quality water to be a primary provider, Manroe said. But the company believes there is enough water available to build and operate the plant.
“Tenaska welcomes this new relationship with the city of Stamford, one with potentially long-term benefits for the city and the energy consumers of Texas.”
The proposed plant, Manroe said, would also operate with a dry cooling system that reduces the amount of water the plant uses from some 12 million gallons a day to 1 million gallons.
According to the Stamford City Manager's office, the contract has not been completed yet, but the vote solidified their intent to make the deal.