Two years in the making, a natural gas powered electric plant is coming to Mitchell County.
Emerson Farrell, president of FGE Power, made the official announcement Monday of the plant to be located just south of Westbrook near County Road 262 and County Road 266.
"A plant like ours is going to do two things. One, it will be high responsive to back up and firm the wind power in the area. Two, it will be the clean portable low-cost supply for major metro areas – this area and also Dallas and Houston," Farrell said.
Farrell said his company decided on natural gas for a few reasons.
"We strongly feel that at this time our country and the state of Texas need clean affordable power – and this is the way you do it," Farrell said.
Mitchell County officials said the plant will have a big impact on the county.
"Basically tripling our tax base, which means that taxpayers in Mitchell County will pay much less in taxes, and it creates more jobs. There's sales tax involved, it's just a huge benefit to the county," said Sue Young, executive director of the Mitchell County Economic Development Corporation.
Construction will begin in late August or early September. Completion is expected in 2016. Power lines that already run adjacent to the property will carry the energy from the plant to across the state.
Protos Energy Advisory founder Ross McCausland said Mitchell County became the obvious frontrunner when possible locations for the new plant were reviewed.
"What you look for is gas transmission and a market that needs power and we obviously have all three of those in Mitchell County at this point and time," McCausland said.
The new plant, which will cost more than $500 million, is expected to create up to 1,000 temporary jobs during construction. It will also generate 22 permanent jobs.