Athens Review, Athens, Texas

September 16, 2013

Power plant planned

Georgia company files application with TCEQ

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — An Atlanta, Ga.-based wholesale energy provider has filed applications to begin the process of building a natural-gas-fired power plant in Trinidad.

Southern Power filed an application with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a non-greenhouse-gas emissions permit on June 27.

The subsidiary of Southern Company through the submission of the air permit application is beginning the steps to develop a 470-megawatt, single-unit combined-cycle generating facility. 

According to the application, the plant would be located three-fourths of a mile north of State Highway 31, east of State Highway 274 and west of Forehand Road. Pipeline quality natural gas will be used to rotate an electric generator  at the plant.

Southern Power has one plant in Texas. The company opened a plant in Nacogdoches, a wood-biomass powered operation, in June 2012. That plant supplies power to about 60,000 homes in deep East Texas.

Southern Company was founded in 1976, operating in the southeast part of the United States. The Trinidad location, if it comes to fruition would be the first gas-fired plant constructed by Southern Power west of the Mississippi.

A combined cycle is an assembly of heat engines that work in tandem from the same source of heat, converting it into mechanical energy, which in turn usually drives electrical generators.

Southern Power media relations official Tim Leljedal acknowledged that the application had been filed.

“It’s important to note that the application submission is an early step in an extensive process and that the company has not yet made a final decision on whether to build the facility,” Leljedal said. 

Leljedal said the Trinidad location would be an intermediate load facility.

Southern Power and its subsidiaries currently run 15 power plants in eight states. The company has more than 4 million customers with a net income of more than $2.35 billion in 2012. According to the company website, natural-gas-fueled power plants are a viable energy option because they are clean, plus their construction is fast and less costly. 

A copy of the Trinidad application will be on file at the Clint W. Murchison Memorial Library in Athens.