A Black & Veatch Management Consulting team is helping the city of Brownsville, Texas, with a project to build a new natural gas power plant to meet the city’s future needs for power. The project is a joint venture between the Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) and an independent power producer.
Black & Veatch, which has worked on rate and cost study cases for BPUB since 2002, conducted an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in 2012 that initially spurred the project. The IRP identified a need for additional power generation in the near future for BPUB to serve its customer base. After that initial review, an independent power producer approached BPUB about building a power plant to supply the deficit load.
The BPUB contacted Black & Veatch to represent the utilities Board in the negotiations with the independent producer. Additional research showed Brownsville’s need for power would continue to grow beyond the near future. This resulted in the two sides negotiating a larger power plant with additional capacity – an 800 MW plant, with 200 MW owned by BPUB.
The Black & Veatch team also saw economic development opportunities in Brownsville, which they outlined to the Board. Brownsville has an ocean port, but no natural gas services are currently available at the port. The team demonstrated that natural gas services could attract industry and economic development to the city’s port. This resulted in the addition of a second phase to the power plant project – a natural gas pipeline from the plant to the port built to support potential industrial loads.
Additionally, the project has required work from Black & Veatch’s water team in providing water cooling solutions for the power plant. The plans include using grey water from the city’s water facilities for cooling the power plant. This is how cities can promote sustainability.
Black & Veatch prepared a cost of service study for each of the utilities, and the BPUB approved a series of five rate increases to fund the construction and participation in the power plant.