Golden Spread Plans $200 Million Power Plant

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) _ An Amarillo-based utility has announced plans for a $200 million power plant in Hale County. Golden Spread Electric Cooperative Inc., which serves rural areas in Texas and Oklahoma, says the facility will be constructed next year near Abernathy.

The proposed gas-fired power plant initially will be capable of generating 170 megawatts of electricity, enough new capacity to serve 55,000 homes at peak loads. Golden Spread president Mark Schwirtz said Monday the unit is needed to meet the growing needs of its 16-member distribution co-ops and to replace expiring wholesale power contracts.

He says Golden Spread, a consumer-owned public utility, plans to offset potential rate increases by buying cheaper power from other providers in the marketplace. Schwirtz says the new plant should be operational by 2011.