New Ferguson Power Plant in Horseshoe Bay at halfway point; hundreds hired

The Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant replacement project is expected to be on-line in June 2014. Artist rendering courtesy of the Lower Colorado River Authority

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

HORSESHOE BAY — The replacement project for the new Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant has reached the “height of the construction phase,” creating hundreds of jobs and boosting the economy by millions of dollars, officials said.

Fluor Enterprises, the contractor for the new multimillion-dollar facility on Lake LBJ, reports the number of personnel at the construction site has reached about 600 people.

“A lot of the subcontractors travel with Fluor, but there’s also quite a few local contractors they tried to get business, too,” said plant manager Monte Gottier of the Lower Colorado River Authority. “The impact study that was done was suggesting there would be a $20 million impact to the local economies.”

LCRA is responsible for plant operations.

“The last 50 percent we’re going to finish up in one year from now. That is finishing up all the execution, getting all the equipment in place and tested and verified to operate properly before we turn the plant on,” he said. “As far as footprint, the new facility is a little larger, but a little shorter as far as stack height and structure height.”

Pipeline integrity testing is under way at the site. The so-called “gas burn-off” results in 12- to 15-minute flares emitting from two large structures at the site.

Also, crews expect to see a 300-ton delivery by the end of July, Gottier said.

The last of two turbines, constructed in Yokohama, Japan, arrived in Corpus Christi on May 27 and will take about a month’s journey to get to the site in Horseshoe Bay.

After the last of the heavy hauls, work will continue toward a June 2014 transition into the new facility, officials said.

“It’s (a) night-and-day difference. The existing plant is 37-year-old technology. It’s very inefficient by today’s standards. The new plant is state of the art,” Gottier said.

He added the new plant should be from 66 percent to 68 percent efficient, compared to the old facility at 33 percent efficiency.

“Emissions is much less from the new plant. From an environmental standpoint, it’s much better. We’re going to get more power out of the new plant,” he said. “It’s going to be more efficient, and we’ll have more flexibility.”

connie@thepicayune.com