Update from Congressman Pete Gallego

Last week, an Arizona-based company, First Solar, announced construction of a 22-megawatt solar power plant west of Fort Stockton in Pecos County.  Barilla Solar Project will be the third largest solar power plant in Texas, powering about 2,000 homes as early as summer.

Solar energy is a resource that never stops giving. The project promises to give for a very long time. From day one, Barilla Solar Project will benefit the community. It will create jobs during the on-going construction phase and later need employees to staff and run the plant. The plant will boost our local economy by providing affordable and clean energy for homes and businesses in West Texas while employing our friends and neighbors.

West Texas is a perfect location for solar power production. Thanks to efforts by Pecos County and others, my hope is that the Barilla Solar Project is the first of many power plants to call the region home – the cornerstone of many to follow. Not only does West Texas have perfect natural conditions for solar energy, it also has the necessary infrastructure for transmission of power.  This critical infrastructure delivers the energy to towns and cities.

Taking advantage of resources like sun, wind and water will continue to propel Texas’ economy into the future.  Our state has long been a leader in traditional energy resources like gas and oil, but adding renewable resources like solar is a game changer.  It assures Texas a leadership role in the energy sector for years to come.  And, the best part is that this investment will benefit our grand kids and their grandkids.

In recent years, production of renewable energy resources has experienced a boom. The technology used to produce it has also undergone great developments while also creating jobs in that sector. One hundred years ago, we developed technology to extract oil and make it energy. American ingenuity continues to develop more technology – making renewable energy more abundant. Today, solar energy can be profitable, useful and clean. It’s time we focus on it.

As the Native American proverb says, “we did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrowed it from our children.” We have a responsibility to preserve our natural resources while enhancing renewable ones too for future generations.

Our lives depend on energy – to charge our cell phone, watch TV, drive a car, surf the internet. The world relies on a constant flow of energy. Let’s make it work for all by thinking of smart ways to produce that flow while preserving our resources.

U.S. Representative Pete P. Gallego represents the 23rd District of Texas covering all or parts of 29 counties. in southwest Texas, spanning from El Paso to San Antonio.