San Antonio Positioning to be at the Forefront of New Energy Economy in U.S.


Flanked by CPS Energy Board Chair Derrick Howard and President & CEO Doyle Beneby, Mayor Julián Castro raised the curtain today on new business prospects for San Antonio, as five clean technology businesses were introduced to an audience of San Antonio community and business leaders at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Downtown Campus. Agreements developed by CPS Energy with the featured companies include headquarters relocations, about 230 technical and professional jobs in the next few years, and funding for education initiatives as well as expanded UTSA partnerships.

After briefings last week in Washington, D.C., in which the Mayor and Beneby outlined the utility’s efforts, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Lisa P. Jackson commented, “San Antonio is stepping up to lead Texas and our nation into a clean energy future—and proving that investing in innovative technology to protect our health and the environment is also a great way to create jobs. Committing to cleaner sources of power will mean cleaner air for the families in San Antonio and new opportunities for San Antonio’s workforce. By sending a strong signal of the local government’s support for clean energy, San Antonio attracted innovative American businesses that will create jobs around technology that helps to keep the air clean. The Obama administration is working to send the same signal to companies around the world and ensure they bring their business and their jobs to our shores.”

During Monday’s announcement, which was carried live on, Mayor Castro expounded on the city’s plans to become a hub for energy development.

“San Antonio has the opportunity to seize a mantle that no city in the U.S. holds today: to be the recognized leader in clean energy technology,” Mayor Castro said. "By building a critical mass around research and development that will grow and attract the brainpower of the 21st Century, San Antonio can be for the New Energy Economy what Silicon Valley is to software and what Boston is to biotech.”

The mayor’s comments followed an announcement by Beneby that the utility’s coal-fired J.T. Deely Power Plant will be mothballed by 2018, about 15 years earlier than planned. Generating a combined 871 megawatts (MW) of electricity, Deely’s two units were completed in 1977 and 1978 and built as part of an effort to diversify the utility’s portfolio that relied solely on natural gas at the time. Today, CPS Energy’s mix of generation resources is considered among the most diverse in the nation, including nuclear, coal, natural gas, wind and solar technologies.

“The CPS Energy Board of Trustees set aggressive goals several years ago,” noted Board Chair Derrick Howard. “In 2010, we raised expectations by asking staff to increase the utility’s renewable resources to 20 percent, or 1,500 MW by 2020 and have 65 percent of our generation resources be low- or no-carbon emitting. We believe the plan announced today can propel us to reach these goals.”

Beneby went on to outline the concept of a New Energy Economy.

“With these agreements, we are leveraging our low-carbon and renewable energy resources to stimulate economic and educational development within our community. At the same time, we’re reducing power plant emissions by tens of thousands of tons per year—the equivalent of taking almost one million vehicles off our roads,” said Beneby. “At CPS Energy, we have the enviable position of having safe, affordable nuclear power and a new coal plant with the best available emissions control technology. These resources allow us to support the development of clean technologies to generate electricity, while maintaining rates among the lowest in the nation.” 

Beneby introduced the CEOs of companies that will partner with CPS Energy to replace that electric demand and curb energy use by improving efficiency:

  • Consert CEO Jack Roberts announced the relocation of that company’s headquarters from Raleigh, NC to San Antonio. The move is expected to bring 50 jobs by the first quarter of 2012, with additional jobs generated through the installation and use of the company’s sophisticated energy management software in as many as 140,000 San Antonio homes and businesses by 2015. CPS Energy launched a pilot program with Consert in 2010 and expects to broaden that pilot to 1,000 customers later this year. Using the Consert software, customers set user profiles through their home computers for heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters and pool pumps to manage their homes’ energy demands. Used in conjunction with other smart grid initiatives like advanced metering infrastructure, the program helps customers automate their energy conservation and manage their bills, while allowing the utility to conserve energy during periods of high use. Consert Fact Sheet 
  • GreenStar Executive Vice President Rod Gray announced the relocation of their headquarters from nearby Boerne, Texas to San Antonio, along with 35 jobs. While exhibiting a locally assembled street light that uses light-emitting diode (LED) technology, Gray explained that GreenStar will replace 25,000 street lights in San Antonio, beginning with downtown, improving the efficiency of decades-old infrastructure. The company projects growth to 50 jobs in 2012 and has committed $10 for every light manufactured in San Antonio to local education initiatives that focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy technology. This could equate to $1 million per year in education support over the next few years. Additionally, Philips Lumileds, who provides the LEDs within the GreenStar light, will help establish a Center of Excellence in LEDs at UTSA. Texas Instruments, who makes the advanced semiconductor technology for the lights, is working closely with the university to understand their needs and to augment the engineering curriculum with TI development tools for the labs. GreenStar Fact Sheet 
  • ColdCar USA CEO Paul Duran II announced the relocation of their headquarters and 35 of its 45 jobs from Boerne to San Antonio by December. The company assembles refrigerated trucks used to deliver food items direct to consumers. The company is transitioning its vehicles to electric and/or hybrid trucks, and CPS Energy will partner with ColdCar on the installation of electric charging stations for these vehicles. ColdCar has agreed to provide the utility research data from the vehicle charging. ColdCar USA Fact Sheet 
  • Summit Power President Eric Redman provided an overview of plans to provide 200 MW of purchased power to CPS Energy from a Summit Texas Clean Energy (STCE) coal-fired facility near Odessa, Texas. Construction of the clean-coal  plant is expected to begin in late 2011/early 2012 and be completed in late 2014/early 2015. The first-of-its-kind project captures 90 percent of its carbon dioxide and more than 95 percent of its mercury and sulfur and manufactures commercial products that include electricity, compressed CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, and urea fertilizer and sulfuric acid for farming. In addition to supplying power to CPS Energy through a 25-year agreement, STCE will locate its  customer relations office here, partner in research with the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute (TSERI) at UTSA, and host its national Carbon Management Advisory Board in San Antonio. Summit Power Fact Sheet
  • SunEdison CEO Carlos Domenech outlined plans for the solar developer to locate 30 MW of new solar generation in the CPS Energy service territory; a $300,000 commitment to work with CPS Energy to build an education center in San Antonio for primary and secondary students; and a $300,000 commitment to research and development primarily with UTSA, in collaboration with CPS Energy and the City of San Antonio. Twenty of the 30 MW planned for San Antonio will be located at the Dos Rios Water Treatment Plant owned by CPS Energy’s sister utility, the San Antonio Water System (SAWS). The second installation will be located in Somerset in southwest Bexar County.  SunEdison will open a regional office in San Antonio later this year to support the 30MW project and expanding business interests in Texas and the region. SunEdison Fact Sheet 

Beneby closed the event by asking the audience to stay tuned for more. The selection of another solar provider is expected within 30 days, following a Feb. 1 request for proposals that resulted in 111 submissions from 38 respondents for another solar installation in San Antonio of up to 50-plus MW.

CPS Energy is the nation's largest municipally owned natural gas and electric utility, providing service to approximately 717,000 electric customers and 325,000 natural gas customers in and around the city of San Antonio. The utility ranks among the nation's lowest-cost energy providers while ranking number 1 in wind-energy capacity among municipally owned utilities.