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ROBERTSON COUNTY, TX -Fluor Corp. has received the go-ahead to build a 1,600-megawatt, two-unit power plant on a 350-acre site in Central Texas. Construction will begin within 10 days on the $1.8-billion Oak Grove project, which will have the bones of a partially-finished power plant as its foundation.

The site is located off FM 979 near Franklin, about 60 miles southeast of Waco. A Fluor spokesman says the plan is to add to what’s already there rather than start from scratch. “The foundation and some of the utilities are already in there from the older power plant that was never completed,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s not like a green field where we’ll need to turn some shovels. Plus a lot of the engineering and design work have been in progress for awhile from our end.”

The power plant will sit on 350 of the 15,000-acre project, which includes Twin Oak Reservoir. The Oak Grove project is expected to create about 2,400 construction jobs during the next two to three years. It is projected to come on line between late 2009 and mid-2010.

Oak Grove and two other Texas sites for future power plants have been under fire from advocacy groups and politicians for producing fossil fuel by burning coal and creating environmental problems. The Fluor spokesman says he understands the concerns, but technologically the Oak Grove project shouldn’t cause as many problems as feared. “This will use BACT, which is the best available coal-burning technology,” he says. “This will be 75% cleaner from the day it starts up and is cleaner than anything in the US today.”

David Constable, president of Fluor’s Power Group, said in a press release that the plant would provide a “new, reliable energy source to its customers with state-of-the-art emissions controls.” He adds that the plant will operate on state-of-the-art technology as well.

The plant’s design and engineering has been led by Fluor’s team in Greenville, SC office. Fluor plans to contract with local construction companies and skilled trades to build it.

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