The Greater San Marcos Partnership announced the project in a press release, noting that it is the largest economic development by measure of capital investment in the history of the Texas Innovation Corridor, which it describes as Hays and Caldwell counties.
Chem-Energy Corp., a California-based petroleum trading firm and energy company, entered a performance-based Chapter 381 agreement with Caldwell County that should provide $22.4 million in tax revenue over the next decade. The Caldwell County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the agreement Nov. 5.
“We welcome the largest economic development win in the Texas Innovation Corridor to Caldwell County,” Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden said in a statement. “This is a seismic development for our region, which will establish several new opportunities in our community. We anticipate that Chem-Energy will be a long-term community partner to Caldwell County,” Haden said.
The first site built will be the solar complex near Uhland in the spring of 2022 on a 3,518-acre parcel of land, with an expected opening date to be determined in 2023, according to the announcement. The second facility will be built near Martindale but does not have a firm construction timeline and will take place after the first facility is completed.
The facilities are projected to bring 400 full-time positions within the first year with an average wage of $53,200 annually plus benefits, according to the announcement. For the Martindale facility, Austin Community College’s Hays County campus will train 75 to 100 technicians specifically to work there through a partnership with Chem-Energy and ACC.
Mortenson Construction of San Antonio will design and build the solar facilities, and Kore Power, a battery cell developer based out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, will provide high energy density batteries for power storage, according to the announcement.
The first facility will feature a total of 600 megawatts in battery storage and 1 gigawatt of solar power generation in its first 10 years. The energy production is expected to go into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' grid and serve the Lower Colorado River Authority and other local electricity utilities, according to the announcement.
“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."
Other facilities are planned across Central Texas, according to the statement.