New Texas Fossil-Fuel Power Plant Planned to Shore Up Shaky Grid

(Bloomberg) -- A new, natural gas-fired power plant is planned for central Texas that will bolster the Lone Star State’s electricity grid while threatening to slow any transition away from fossil fuels.

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Sandow Lakes Energy Company LLC will construct a 1.2-gigawatt facility about 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of the capital Austin, on the site of a former Alcoa Corp. aluminum smelter.

When it begins generating electricity in 2028, the plant will generate roughly as much power as a nuclear facility — enough to light more than 800,000 homes. It’ll also be on a par with the inaugural phase of what is forecast to be the world’s biggest offshore wind park, Dogger Bank.

The announcement comes amid a burgeoning detente between Texas officials and Wall Street firms such as BlackRock Inc. that the state”s GOP leadership formerly pilloried as enemies of fossil fuels and firearms. Years of grid disruptions during periods of high demand have sharpened the divide between backers of more fossil fuel-powered generation and advocates of curbing climate-damaging emissions.

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Sandow Lake will swell the capacity of new Texas plants expected to come online by 2030 by almost 30% to 5.4 gigawatts, according to calculations based on data analyzed by BloombergNEF.

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