New Power Plant Set to Bring in Hundreds of Jobs

There's a buzz in the air in one West Texas town.

"It's an exciting day for Mitchell County," said Judge Ray Mayo.

Plans for a new natural gas power plant were announced Monday morning to a crowd of community members in the county courthouse.

"It's a next-generation, high-efficiency, low-emissions gas plant," explained Emerson Farrell, CEO and President of FGE Power, the Houston-based power generation firm behind the proposal.

It will be built in the small town of Westbrook in western Mitchell County, and it's all thanks to a stroke of fate.

Members of the Mitchell County Economic Development board pitched the idea at a wind energy conference in California in 2011.

"I don't think they had considered Texas at all until we met," said Sue Young, Executive Director of Mitchell Co. Board of Economic Development. "It was just karma."

Fast-forward to the present and real progress on the plan is being made.

"You look for is gas, transmission and a market that needs power and we obviously have all three of those here in Mitchell County, said Ross McCausland, President and CEO of Protos Energy Advisory.

While the plant will not be up and running until 2016, construction will begin later this year, bringing about 400 temporary jobs to the area.

The field is full of tumbleweeds now, but give it a few years and there will be a half-billion dollar power plant in their place. The land was purchased on Monday.

When the plant is completed, it will employ 18 to 20 full-time workers with a combined salary base of $2.5 million.

With a mix of wind resources, natural gas and power lines, it's an area that FGE power says is perfect for their needs, and for ours.

"It'll be clean, affordable, low-cost supply for major metro areas here, and also in Dallas and in Houston," Farrell said.

And while energy consumption today is as simple as a flip of the switch, where that energy comes from makes all the difference for our future generations.

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