Benefits to FutureGen Coming to West Texas

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

The excitement is building for members of the futuregen task force. That's because Tuesday morning we will know if Odessa's site at Penwell gets picked. If West Texas is chosen, it will bring a number of benefits to our area, both short term and long term.

If FutureGen does pick Penwell, then we'll see a 1.8 billion dollar power plant for the area. And many say, it's only going to make the Permian Basin that much better.

"We are America's energy epiccenter and we have everything here to create energy, domestic energy for our nation," said Stephanie Sparkman, spokewoman for the local FutureGen Task Force.

It's a big step Sparkman hopes the FutureGen Alliance will take Tuesday: picking Odessa as the spot for their near zero emission power plant.

"The thing that has been so great about FutureGen, is it's something that the environmentalists can put their arms around, oil companies can put their arms around, that all of us, it's a win win. Every single direction you look at it, it is a win win," explained Sparkman.

Sparkman said FurtureGen's coming to the Basin isn't a threat for local oil businesses, because the energy produced would end up using both oil and coal, but that's not the only plus to FutureGen.

"You have all of the things that you look for in economic development. You have additional people moving into the basin, especially during the construction phase, but during the permanent phase because we'll have 150 people here permanently, and their families at the site," said Sparkman.

Folks in the Basin can also look forward to improved infrastructure in and around Odessa. That includes Union Pacific working on railroads, as well as upgrades to roads. But with more people in the area, where will they live?

"Not only has Odessa been moving toward more housing, but so has Monahans, Seminole, Andrews, all of the other bedroom communities," explained Sparkman.

Sparkman also said members of the city of Odessa and Ector County have planned well to make sure if they do get the "Yes," they will be ready to bring a welcomed addition to West Texas.