In Texas, Sugar Land Building Power Reliability, While San Antonio And Abilene Welcome Investments

Powered by natural gas, the planned generation plant will be designed to restore power within minutes. Meanwhile, JCB breaks ground in San Antonio, and AbiMar Foods expanding in Abilene.

Recent activity in the Texas energy landscape include the approval of a land lease in Sugar Land, TX to begin the process of building a $146 million power generation plant with an output capacity of at least 135 megawatts. This plant is designed to restore lost power within minutes, regardless of weather.

“We must take action now to prevent the kind of devastating impacts we’ve seen from various weather disasters, one example being Winter Storm Uri in 2021,” says Sugar Land’s Mayor Joe Zimmerman. “We are committed to building a resilient and dependable power infrastructure here in Sugar Land. This initiative not only ensures a critical resource for our community, but it will also make it easier for us to attract premier business partners, fostering long-term economic growth.”

Facilitated by Sugar Land Economic Development and Tourism (SLOEDT), the development will be located within an approximate 100-acre mixed-use business park at 1 Circle Drive, with direct proximity to Highway 6 and Highway 90A.

Sugar Land
(Photo: Sugar Land office of Economic Development and Tourism)

Once completed, the plant will use natural gas to provide sustainable power to the Texas grid. In the event of a grid failure, weather-resistant engines will be able to restore power within five minutes. The plant will provide electricity without relying on external grids, even during a complete blackout.

“We plan to construct the plant with highly efficient engines that are capable of producing power independently, even during extremely low or high temperatures,” said SLOEDT Assistant Director, Alba Penate-Johnson, “These aspects align with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas goals (ERCOT), which operates Texas’s electrical grid.”

Currently, project leaders are selecting development partners who will enter into a long-term ground lease agreement once the deal is facilitated. Construction partners and Land use permits are also being announced later this year. Upon completion, the power plant is expected to bring various economic benefits, including new jobs and increased revenues for the city.

JCB Breaks Ground On $500M Manufacturing Plant

In San Antonio, TX, construction equipment manufacturer JCB celebrated the groundbreaking for its new $500 million factory. Work is now underway to build the 720,000-square-foot factory on the 400-acre site. This is the largest investment in the JCB’s history and will be the company’s second largest plant, rivalled only by its world headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire, England.

An official groundbreaking ceremony at the site marked the beginning of construction, where The Hon. Alice Bamford, the daughter of company Chairman Anthony Bamford, as she turned the first shovelful of dirt on the property.

The factory will make Loadall telescopic handlers and aerial access equipment, with production scheduled to start in 2026. The factory will also have the capacity to expand and build other products in the future, and the investment is expected to create 1,500 jobs over five years.

(left to right) Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia, City of San Antonio Councilwoman District 4; David Carver, Operations Director JCB San Antonio; Rep. John Lujan, Texas House of Representatives District 118; Alice Bamford; Lord Bamford, Chairman, JCB; Cecilia Abbott, The First Lady of Texas; Mark Turner, Chief Operating Officer, JCB; Rebeca Clay-Flores, Bexar County Commissioner, Precinct 1; Richard Fox-Marrs, President & CEO, JCB North America; Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, President & CEO, greater:SATX. (Photo: JCB)

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “Construction equipment manufacturers sell more than 300,000 machines every year in North America, making it the single largest market in the world. JCB has been growing its share of this important market steadily over the past few years and the time is now right to invest in our manufacturing capacity in North America, where we already have one factory.”

“JCB really has come a considerable way since we sold our first machine here 60 years ago and it gives me immense pleasure to see how our business has grown in North America. Today really is a milestone day in the history of our family company,” Bamford said.

“Texas was this year named as The Best State for Business for a record-breaking 20th year, and I am proud to welcome JCB as the newest business to call our great state home,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “Today’s groundbreaking marks a major milestone in JCB’s journey that will create 1,500 good-paying jobs for hardworking Texans in Bexar County and bring hundreds of millions of new capital investment to San Antonio and beyond. ‘Made in Texas’ is truly a powerful global brand, and I look forward to celebrating JCB’s continuing success as we work together to build a bigger, better Texas for decades to come.”

Richard Fox-Marrs, President & CEO of JCB North America, said: “The Loadall telescopic handler is JCB’s biggest selling product in North America and it is also the single largest market for aerial access equipment worldwide, and therefore, it makes great sense to build these two ranges here.”

“Texas is an obvious choice for our new North American manufacturing facility, not least because the state is the largest consumer of construction equipment in the USA. San Antonio is also the logical choice as a location for our new factory because of its central location, proximity to the supply chain and great local labor force. We are really excited about JCB’s new San Antonio factory and for the future of our business in North America,” says Fox-Marrs.

JCB sold its first machine in North America in 1964 and opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant in 2001 in Savannah, GA, which employs 1,000 people. The new facility, which was announced in October 2023, will manufacture machines for customers specifically in North America. The company will mark its 80th anniversary in 2025.

In Abilene, TX, AbiMar Foods Expanding Its Operations

AbiMar Foods, a cookie and cracker baked goods manufacturer and subsidiary of Grupo Nutresa, has chosent to expand its existing operations in Abilene, TX with a $4.6 million capital investment. Established in that city in 1992, AbiMar Foods is a long-standing manufacturer with a 30+ year history there.

“The growth and expansion of local existing companies is essential to our community, and we are proud to support AbiMar Foods in their latest expansion,” said Misty Mayo, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA). “The DCOA is committed to building the future Abilene through long-term company partnerships.”

Development Corporation of Abilene team members join the AbiMar Foods team to mark the company’s decision to expand investment in its Abilene, TX operation. (Photo: courtesy DCOA)

The AbiMar Foods expansion project will improve automation at all three of its facilities in Abilene by upgrading production equipment and software systems allowing for increased efficiency, improved worker safety, scalability, and enhanced consistency and quality. The project will also renovate AbiMar’s office, employee break area, and restrooms to better serve the needs of their employees at the north plant location. The company’s project will retain 550 employees.

“This expansion project is a true testament to Abilene’s thriving food manufacturing sector and the DCOA’s continued commitment to develop local industry,” said Abilene Mayor Weldon Hurt.

“Investing in AbiMar Foods’ expansion reflects the DCOA’s dedication to the community’s growth and well-being,” said Shea Hall, Chair of the DCOA Board of Directors.

Over the next two years, the company will invest $4.6 million through the expansion project. DCOA company partnership incentives are reimbursed to the company after it meets its contracted capital investment requirements. For every $1.00 the DCOA invests in the company, AbiMar Foods is projected to generate a direct economic output of $476.15 for Abilene over two years.

“Our partnership with the DCOA has been a cornerstone of our success and growth here in Abilene,” said Rafael Henao, CEO of AbiMar Foods. “This investment highlights our commitment to excellence and innovation in our operations as we will continue to deliver outstanding products and contribute positively to the local economy.”

This expansion taps into Abilene’s skilled labor force in the food manufacturing industry. With four universities, a technical college, a community college, and state-of-the-art training facilities for high school and college students, the community boasts the necessary education to support future workforce opportunities.

Check out all the latest news related to Texas economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection.

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