Chem-Energy is investing more than $1 billion in the development of two solar + storage power plant facilities in Caldwell County, Texas.
“Caldwell County is the perfect strategic choice for our flagship operations in Texas,” said Robert Hayward, COO of Chem-Energy Corporation. “With available land in a growing region, close proximity to Texas State University and a robust workforce pipeline, the Texas Innovation Corridor provides an ideal environment for our organization’s growth.”
The first facility will be constructed on 3,511 acres in Caldwell Valley Ranch in the vicinity of Uhland. Construction will start in Spring 2022 and it is expected to be operational by the following year. The second facility will be located in the Martindale extraterritorial jurisdiction.
The Caldwell Valley Ranch solar + storage facilities will feature a combined total of 400 MW/800 MWh in battery storage and 600 MW of solar power generation. The facilities will primarily serve ERCOT and the Texas power grid, as well as the local community, offering clean energy to regional power providers such as Bluebonnet Electric and the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA).
Mortenson Construction will handle engineering, procurement and construction services for the solar facilities; KORE Power is providing NMC batteries for power storage; Invenergy Services will provide office administrative, energy asset/management and operations and maintenance support; and Soundgrid Partners is handling project management, technical advice and support.
“Chem-Energy’s innovative approach to solar energy will result in a facility design unlike anything seen before in the industry,” said Brad Heitland, business development executive for Mortenson Construction. “Solar projects tend to be larger and more complex than other energy generators. I firmly believe that we will be setting a new standard for energy production both in the Texas Innovation Corridor and throughout the state.”
The facilities will create 400 full-time, permanent positions in the first year, providing an average wage that will meet or exceed $53,200 a year, plus benefits. In partnership with Austin Community College – Hays Campus, the Martindale facility will also be home to a standardized solar PV and battery storage training facility that will provide certifications for Chem-Energy team members. Initial hiring is expected in January 2022 and the training facility is expected to be opened in late Spring 2022.
“As a leader in the high-growth energy storage market, KORE Power is thrilled to partner with Chem-Energy to provide Texas with long-term, reliable energy resources that will strengthen the Texas Interconnection electric grid system,” said Lindsay Gorrill, CEO of KORE Power.
Trainees can anticipate three months in a classroom, then lab and hands-on training for another 30 days afterward. Economic development agency the Greater San Marcos Partership facilitated the collaboration between Chem-Energy and Austin Community College to create a training program at the ACC Hays Campus, which will train the first class of 75 to 100 technicians. Chem-Energy will be focused on recruiting locally for its positions, including the targeting of veterans and other underserved groups.
“This is a prime example of how strategic partnerships result in unprecedented economic development opportunities for the residents of Hays and Caldwell Counties,” said Jason Giulietti, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership. “Between the high-paying jobs, the incoming workforce training facilities and our region becoming a future resource to the statewide power grid, this will unquestionably raise the quality of life for residents throughout the Texas Innovation Corridor.”