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Juan Garza named to new post at NRG Energy

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 by Austin Monitor

Juan Garza, the ousted General Manager of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative and the former head of Austin Energy, tells In Fact Daily that he has accepted an Austin-based position with New Jersey-based NRG Energy.


Garza said he is President of Advanced Technology at NRG, a Fortune 500 wholesale power company with nuclear, wind and solar generation in its portfolio, along with coal, natural gas and other carbon-based generation facilities in the US and globally. NRG acquired Texas-based Reliant Energy in 2009


“As you know, I am concerned about the amount of carbon we are putting into the atmosphere (and) NRG is serious about reducing carbon output,” Garza said. “I started on the job last week and today (Monday) was my first full day of work.”


One of NRG’s assets is the South Texas Nuclear Project. The company is currently in the permitting process to add two new units that will generate an additional 2,700 MW of electricity. Garza said a large part of his new job would be to promote the STP expansion near Bay City in Matagorda County.


“My position is basically a one-year assignment, though it could go longer,” he said. “I will be promoting the idea of expanding the nuclear plant at STP and building out units 3 and 4. I think nuclear is, in the long run, the cheapest for the city and for the nation, the cleanest in terms of carbon emissions and is the most reliable.”


Garza said that in addition to the financial and environmental benefits, the STP expansion would generate some 6,000 construction jobs and about 800 permanent jobs. Although the new units will have a positive impact on the economy, Garza said, “I am most concerned about carbon emissions into the environment.” NRG estimates the cost of the two new units at more than $6 billion.


The ownership of STP units 1 and 2 is divided between NRG (44 percent), CPS Energy of San Antonio (40 percent) and Austin Energy (16 percent).


A divided PEC Board of Directors fired Garza in June, two years after he was hired to turn the scandal-plagued agency around following charges of corruption and financial mismanagement by a number of former utility officials.


Garza’s NRG office will be at 10th Street and Congress Avenue in the former Reliant Energy offices.

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