CHEM-ENERGY SOLAR & BATTERY POWER PLANTS TO MAKE $1 BILLION IN CAPITAL INVESTMENT TO CALDWELL COUNTY
Chem-Energy, a leader in the petroleum products industry, has selected Caldwell County as the location to invest more than $1 billion in the development of two innovative solar and battery power plant facilities. This announcement marks the largest economic development win (by capital investment) in the history of the Texas Innovation Corridor.
“Caldwell County is the perfect strategic choice for our flagship operations in Texas,” said Robert Hayward, COO of Chem-Energy Corporation. “With available land in a growing region, close proximity to Texas State University and a robust workforce pipeline, the Texas Innovation Corridor provides an ideal environment for our organization’s growth.”
The first facility will be constructed on 3,511 acres in Caldwell Valley Ranch in the vicinity of Uhland. Construction to begin in Spring 2022 and operational by the following year. The second facility will be located in the Martindale ETJ. Construction is expected to begin following the completion of the Caldwell Valley facility. Additional facilities are planned across Central Texas soon.
Key partners involved include Mortenson Construction as the engineer and builder of the solar facilities; KORE Power as the provider of the high energy density NMC batteries for power storage; Invenergy Services as the provider of back office administrative, energy asset/management and operations and maintenance support; and Soundgrid Partners as the provider of project management, technical advice, and support.
“Chem-Energy’s innovative approach to solar energy will result in a facility design unlike anything seen before in the industry,” said Brad Heitland, business development executive for Mortenson Construction. “Solar projects tend to be larger and more complex than other energy generators. I firmly believe that we will be setting a new standard for energy production both in the Texas Innovation Corridor and throughout the state.”
The Caldwell Valley Ranch solar power and battery pack facilities will feature a combined total of 400MW/800MWh megawatts in battery storage and 600 total megawatts of solar power generation. The facilities will primarily serve ERCOT and the Texas power grid, as well as the local community, offering clean energy to regional power providers such as Bluebonnet Electric and the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA).
“As a leader in the high-growth energy storage market, KORE Power is thrilled to partner with Chem-Energy to provide Texas with long-term, reliable energy resources that will strengthen the Texas Interconnection electric grid system,” said Lindsay Gorrill, CEO of KORE Power.
The facilities will bring in 400 full-time, permanent positions in the first year, providing an average wage that will meet or exceed $53,200 a year, plus benefits. In partnership with Austin Community College – Hays Campus, the Martindale facility will also be home to the country’s first standardized solar PV and battery storage training facility that will provide certifications for Chem-Energy team members. Initial hiring is expected in January 2022 and the training facility is expected to be opened in late spring 2022.
Trainees can anticipate three months in a classroom, then lab & hands-on training for another 30 days afterward. GSMP facilitated the collaboration between Chem-Energy and Austin Community College to create a training program at the ACC Hays Campus, which will train the first class of 75 to 100 technicians. Chem-Energy will be focused on recruiting locally for their positions, including the targeting of veterans and other underserved groups.
“This is a prime example of how strategic partnerships result in unprecedented economic development opportunities for the residents of Hays and Caldwell Counties,” said Jason Giulietti, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership. “Between the high-paying jobs, the incoming workforce training facilities and our region becoming a future resource to the statewide power grid, this will unquestionably raise the quality of life for residents throughout the Texas Innovation Corridor.”
On Friday, November 5, Chem-Energy entered into a performance-based Chapter 381 agreement with Caldwell County, providing the county with a projected $22.4 million in added total net tax revenue over the next ten years.
“We welcome the largest economic development win in the Texas Innovation Corridor to Caldwell County,” said Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden. “This is a seismic development for our region which will establish several new opportunities in our community. We anticipate that Chem-Energy will be a long-term community partner to Caldwell County.”