The new Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant in Horseshoe Bay is one of the state's newest, most efficient power plants. Read the news release on the plant dedication on Oct. 15, 2014.
The new natural gas-fired, combined-cycle plant is producing power for the state's electric grid and helping LCRA provide its wholesale electric customers with more competitively priced power. A combined-cycle power plant is one of the most cost-effective and dependable types of power plant.
The plant reached substantial completion on Aug. 30, 2014, at which time LCRA took over the care, custody and control of the new 540-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle power plant from construction contractor Fluor Corporation.
LCRA expects the plant to reach final completion in the fall of 2014 after remaining contract deliverables are completed and Fluor Corporation returns the area around it to its pre-construction condition.
The $500 million project broke ground in April 2012, about 100 yards from the site of the original Ferguson plant on Lake LBJ. The old 420-MW unit, built in 1974, came off line Sept. 30, 2013, as part of the decommissioning process required before the new Ferguson facility began operating in 2014. The decommissioning process is expected to be completed in 2015. Ferguson is among the most environmentally responsible power plants in Texas, producing 30 to 40 percent fewer emissions per unit of power than the unit it replaced. It uses about 35 percent less fuel per megawatt-hour and about one-third of the water used at a typical steam plant per unit of power.
NCM Demolition and Remediation is dismantling the original Ferguson plant. NCM will restore the site with backfill, topsoil and bluebonnets when decommissioning is complete.
The City of San Marcos owns a small percentage of the plant under a provision of LCRA's wholesale power agreement that allows customers to participate in LCRA's power generation projects.
The LCRA Board of Directors approved the project at its April 2011 meeting, and in August 2011 selected Fluor Corporation to construct the plant following receipt by LCRA of required air permits. The decision followed a year-long evaluation of the costs and benefits of the project, which included soliciting bids from potential contractors, gathering input from LCRA's wholesale electric customers, and hosting open houses to inform neighboring communities about the project.
LCRA considered other locations for the new plant. However, building a power plant on a new site would have added $50 million to $70 million to the cost, and would have a greater overall impact on the environment. It made sense to reuse the existing Ferguson site because there was room for a new power plant (the site was originally designed to accommodate additional generating units) and the fuel, water and transmission infrastructure is already in place.