New power plant to increase energy reliability

The Rio Grande Valley will see a big increase in energy capacity.

A 225-megawatt natural gas power generator will be added onto the power grid in 2016.

Just a couple of miles west of the Edinburg airport, South Texas Electricity Cooperative is constructing the $200 million dollar power plant referred to as ~Red Gate. TM

Magic Valley Electric Cooperative will purchase power produced by the new plant.

The new power plant is badly needed, according to Division Manager Philip Amaya.

"This has been the most load consumption summer we have ever seen and the schools haven TMt even started yet, Amaya said.

The Valley TMs electrical grid is insufficient, Amaya said.

"We really need it to provide energy generation for our weak system, Amaya said. "We don TMt have the resources in the Valley to keep up with demand with this kind of growth. What we need is more generation, more supply, more lines coming in."

Community leaders agree.

"It will really help with all our developments we have coming, said Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza. We need a lot more power for our area and hopefully this new plant will supply that."

The South Texas coast has some of the most reliable wind in the state, but the wind fluctuates.

As the winds calm, the Red Gate plant will be able to quickly adjust its output much more efficiently than the older natural gas plants in the Valley.

"It will compensate for the wind plants on the coast, Amaya said. As they ramp down because of the wind dying down, they will be able to ramp up and keep the frequency, voltage and reliability here in the Valley more stable."

The new plant will produce enough to power to light up about $75,000 homes " enough to prevent any rolling black outs for now.

The plant is expected to come online in June of 2016.

Another natural gas power generator is expected to be built in Brownsville within the next few years.

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