|Energy from the first part of a mega solar and economic development deal will soon be providing power to CPS Energy customers as the state’s largest renewable energy conference kicked off in San Antonio this week.Alamo 1, a 41-megawatt (MW) solar installation covering 445 acres in south San Antonio, will be the first stop on a tour this Thursday for hundreds of energy professionals attending the 29th Annual Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA) conference. The new solar plant should be fully operational in early December.The solar site features 160,000 tracking panels and is the first of several scheduled for construction as part of a 400-megawatt (MW) 25-year purchase power agreement between CPS Energy and OCI Solar Power. Economic development, more than 800 long-term jobs and educational investment are included in the deal, the largest in the nation among municipal utilities.
OCI Solar Power and its consortium of solar partners – Nexolon America, ERCAM Trackers, and KACO new energy – have created nearly 170 long-term local jobs to date with an average salary of $70,519. Employees hired include those with skill sets in accounting, engineering, legal, IT, and administrative areas. Additionally, the construction of Alamo 1 resulted in more than 600 temporary construction jobs.
“As one of the largest municipal energy providers, we have the unique advantage of leveraging our buying power to positively impact the community economically and through key educational partnerships,” said President and CEO Doyle Beneby. “It’s critical for us to always think in terms of bringing optimal value to the San Antonio community, through all of our business negotiations.”
Texas Renewables 2013 will highlight CPS Energy’s commitment to renewable energy and the economic success of its New Energy Economy initiative which includes partners like OCI Solar Power.
“San Antonio is the perfect host city to illuminate the different markets of opportunity for renewable energy technologies,” said Russel Smith, TREIA Executive Director. “The Texas Renewables 2013 conference will explore several of those markets.”
As the keynote luncheon speaker, Beneby will detail CPS Energy’s ‘All of the Above’ business strategy, which meshes perfectly with TREIA’s conference theme of the same name. CPS Energy has a diverse portfolio of 7,500 MW of generation that includes solar, wind, and landfill gas along with the traditional sources of coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy.
“What CPS Energy has done with their New Energy Economy has been monumental for San Antonio residents,” said Catherine Perez, a West side resident who recently acquired a fulltime job with benefits at OCI Solar Power. “We are benefitting from the new opportunities here, and professionals from all over the country are relocating with their families, bringing their expertise and making the local economy stronger. It’s exciting to see the positive economic impacts come to life.”
The goal of CPS Energy’s New Energy Economy initiative is to incorporate low-carbon emitting energy while contributing to the development of local jobs, economic development and educational investment. Eight clean tech companies have opened offices or manufacturing plants in San Antonio as a result of the initiative. To date, the companies have created more than 250 jobs and provided in excess of $1 million to local educational entities, with another $10 million committed by the newest partner, Silver Spring Networks.
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