Texas Clean Energy Project Taking Shape in Odessa

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA--Finding the right location is on the top of the priority list.

Penwell has some competition in the race to be picked as the home to the $1.7 billion power plant coming to Odessa.

According to Gary Vest, Director of Economic Development for the City of Odessa, "With the closing of Flint Hills Resources, there's a lot of property in the Flint Hills area.  There's a lot of infrastructure, water, sewer, electric substations, transmission lines, all the things we need."

Vest says they've been working with Summit Power Group on this project for 2 years. Now, they're beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, "We're ready to move forward with it.  Everything is in place.  It will take some time to draw the plans, site specific, but we look to the middle to late next year, we'll actually see some activity there."

During the construction period, over 1,000 jobs will be created and 150 permanent jobs, once the plant is in operation.  But the economic boost doesn't stop there.

"Restaurants, tourism, equipment rental companies, things like that are going to do great business during this time," Vest explained.

Thanks to a $4.2 billion grant, contracts have already been awarded to companies that will set up the transmission lines to get the newly produced electricity to it's destination.

Vest tells NewsWest 9, "Those transmission lines are scheduled to be energized at the end of 2013, so hopefully, the energized transmission lines and the new power plant will all come on line at the same time."

Both Flint Hills and Penwell have pros and cons in their favor.  Vest hopes they will have a decision soon, "All the work has been done on that.  It will be in Odessa, Texas.  Hopefully this week, we'll narrow it down to where it's going to be."