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 www.NOWCastSA.com, 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: