By STEFAN MODRICH
WattBridge, a subsidiary of Missouri-based energy solutions provider ProEnergy, announced Nov. 10 it would be building a power station near the Braes Bayou.
The facility will be built at the intersection of Lockwood Road and Smithers Lake Road in Thompsons, 15 miles south of Sugar Land.
The project will include a 288-megawatt natural gas-fired power generation facility, powered by 6X LM6000 gas turbine engines designed and built by ProEnergy. The aim of the new power station is to help provide electricity to the Texas grid during critical peak periods.
“Our project will provide a critical energy resource to the region during peak demands in the summer and winter months and support continued commercial and residential growth in the area,” WattBridge CEO Mike Alvarado said in a news release. “Secondly, facilities like this enable the growth of renewable wind and solar generation in the electricity market and are a key feature to cost effective and reliable electricity to Fort Bend and other Texas customers.”
The Fort Bend County Commissioners Court unanimously approved an incentive package for the project. Jack Belt, executive vice president of the Fort Bend Economic Development Council, said it includes a 10-year tax abatement of 45 percent per year on the value of the plant improvements, equipment and machinery, or an average of about $4.14 million abated annually. He said the project is a capital investment of $92 million. Of those costs, $90.9 million has been allocated for the equipment and machinery and $1.1 million for small building improvements to equipment or control rooms.
Precinct 1 County Commissioner Vincent Morales said this important power infrastructure project supports the growing population in one of the fastest-growing counties in the U.S..
“We are delighted to have WattBridge Energy as an integral component of the power network in our Fort Bend County,” Morales said in a statement. “Complimenting the solar power providers in Fort Bend, the Braes Bayou project will strengthen our capacity to offer efficient, clean, renewable energy to our growing residential and commercial populations, and the significant capital investment provides an infusion of tax dollars to the county coffers.
The company plans to build infrastructure to generate 1.3 gigawatts of electricity in 2021.
“We are excited to bring the Braes Bayou project to Fort Bend County and grateful for the support shown by Commissioner Morales, the Commissioners Court and the Fort Bend Economic Development Council,” said Lee Shuman, WattBridge’s chief financial officer.