Removal of obsolete transmission towers and construction of new substation support aerospace, manufacturing growth
10/19/2015San Antonio, Texas—CPS Energy is helping Port San Antonio take big steps toward the development of future aerospace and other advanced manufacturing sites at Kelly Field, the Port’s industrial airport. This marks an important milestone in the Port’s efforts to create 5,000 new jobs at the site by 2020.
In a matter of days in early October, the utility removed seven large transmission towers—each reaching a height of about 100 feet—located between the Port’s northwest entrance at 36th Street and extending by almost a mile toward the south into the heart of the property.
The old towers and overhead lines, which date to the 1960’s, ran parallel to Kelly Field and stood between the runway and 400 adjacent acres that are ideally suited for the development of hangars and air-served workshops for expansions by the region’s aerospace industry.
Later this month, CPS Energy will begin to dismantle an unused substation at Kelly Field where the former power lines extended. That substation was replaced two years ago with a state-of-the-art facility on the northern boundary. The updated infrastructure greatly improves the delivery of power to growing industries at the Port—whose tenants already employ about 12,000 area workers. It also better serves residents in the surrounding communities, which include the Thompson Neighborhood.
CPS Energy’s latest efforts are part of its longstanding collaboration with Port San Antonio, which is redeveloping the 100-year-old site that was once Kelly Air Force Base. To date, the utility has invested approximately $12 million to support the Port’s efforts to convert the former military property and accommodate growing industries in the aerospace, manufacturing, Department of Defense and logistics sectors. The electric infrastructure upgrades are part of more than $100 million in ongoing and upcoming capital improvements at the site.
“The Port’s success as a growing economic engine for South Texas is based on strong and deep partnerships,” said Port President and CEO Roland Mower. “As we work to make our 1,900-acre site attractive to employers, CPS Energy stands as a powerful ally. We are deeply grateful to their team for working hand-in-hand with us as we continue to add value to the Port’s platform—which serves as a unique asset for our entire region.”
“Our partnership with Port San Antonio has provided us the opportunity to get creative and consolidate a couple of energy delivery projects—leading to efficiencies. Any time we can become more efficient and pave the way for stronger economic development, we consider that a win for our community,” said CPS Energy EVP and Chief Delivery Officer Jelynne LeBlanc Burley.
CPS Energy’s current work coincides with a $5-million effort between the Port, City of San Antonio and U.S. Economic Development Administration to clear over 170 acres along the northern part of the airfield. In combination with the removal of the transmission lines, the upcoming demolition of 500,000 square feet of obsolete warehouses later this year will make the corresponding acreage shovel-ready for aerospace facility expansions.
In recent months, the Port, its customers and several community partners have focused on plans to capture growing opportunities in the commercial aerospace market. That global industry is positioned to double within less than 20 years, as manufacturers deliver thousands of new aircraft to airlines and cargo operators worldwide. This increase in the global fleet could potentially bring significant job growth at Port San Antonio, where companies that include Boeing, Chromalloy, StandardAero and others have established large aircraft maintenance operations.