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'I hope I live long enough to see it': Developers announce plans to add power plant on old Alcoa site

Posted at 7:50 PM, Feb 13, 2024

ROCKDALE, Texas — Sandow Lake Ranch developers announced plans to add a new power plant at the former Alcoa plant in Rockdale Monday.

  • Sandow Lake Ranch , a Dallas-based firm, purchased the former Alcoa site in 2021 with plans to develop the 3,300 acre space into an "Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Campus."
  • They plan to add a 1,200 megawatt natural gas-fueled power plant, which could power 800,000 homes and add more jobs.
  • Some residents are excited for the change but are also concerned about increased traffic and affects it could have on the environment once complete.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Long-time Rockdale resident Homer Mowdy remembers working inside the plants of Alcoa.

He worked there 31 years until its closure.

But now, Sandow Lake Ranch developers are planning to add another power plant on the site, and Mowdy is excited about the change.

“It could open up a lot of new jobs for the younger ones because there’s really nothing around here that would bring anybody,” Mowdy said.

The aluminum plant operated since the 1950s until concerns about pollution were raised.

The factory closed its doors in 2017.

Since then, environmental agencies found contaminated ground water under the property because of disposed coal ash.

But developers are adding a natural gas-fueled plant, which they say would help reduce carbon emissions.

In a statement, the company says, "The legacy coal facilities and industrial facilities are in the process of being partially demolished and re-purposed, paving the way for the more contemporary and progressive combined cycle power plant.”

The plant would be large enough to power 800,000 homes and create jobs.

But the project doesn’t come without concern.

"The only thing i had concern was they bulldozed all the beautiful trees to do something like this... I’m a wildlife man, and it’s destroying all the habitats that we have for the country," Mowdy said.

But he hopes it could help restore the town to its former glory.

"I hope I live long enough to see it, but it’s way down the road," she said.

Developers plan to start construction in 2025 and finish by 2028.