The Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) meets and exceeds the city’s growing power demand with its diverse electric system, consisting of electricity generated at three power plants, additional power produced by distributive generation and active participation in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market. This variety of power sources allows BPUB to better manage fuel and energy costs.
Silas Ray Power Plant
The Silas Ray Power Plant, located in Brownsville, is 100% owned and operated by BPUB. It is a natural gas-powered power plant and has three turbo-generators in service powered by two combustion turbines and one steam turbine. Silas Ray went into operation in 1947 and has gone through extensive upgrades to improve service by employing the latest power production technology.
Hidalgo Energy Center
BPUB bought 21% of the natural gas-powered Hidalgo Energy Center in Edinburg, Texas, in 1999. It is also a natural gas-fired power plant and uses two combustion turbines in a combined cycle with one steam turbine to produce more than 500 megawatts of electric capacity.
Sendero Wind Farm
The Sendero Wind Farm is BPUB’s first investment in renewable energy. Located in Hebbronville, about 50 miles from Laredo, the wind farm uses 39 wind turbines to produce as much as 78 megawatts of electricity. The wind patterns in Hebbronville are similar to those in the Rio Grande Valley. There is a strong coastal wind that goes through the area but without the high salt content in the air that would add costly maintenance costs for upkeep. That wind also tends to be at its strongest when electrical demands in Brownsville are at its strongest. This ensures that Brownsville is able to get the most out of the power produced at the wind farm. BPUB owns 100% of the output produced by Sendero.
BPUB is a participant in the ERCOT market. ERCOT is a membership-based nonprofit corporation that manages the flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers — representing 85 percent of the state's electric load. BPUB purchases and sells electricity to other ERCOT market participants through its Qualified Scheduling Entity (QSE) to provide the residents of Brownsville with the most efficient power available.