Big solar headed for big Texas oil operation


Black & Veatch announced it was selected as engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firm for the 270MW Parker solar project in central Texas. Houston’s own Buckeye Partners, which stores, pipes, and ships crude oil and petroleum products commissioned the project.

The 500,000-panel project is planned to be located on two neighboring sites near Waco, Texas. Construction is expected to be completed early next year. Buckeye announced its initial investment in the project last August.

“Our strategy is squarely focused on energy diversity and lower-carbon solutions,” said Buckeye executive Todd J. Russo. “Project Parker will further expand Buckeye’s growing renewable portfolio.”

Black & Veatch has a long history with solar, developing and implementing both land-based and floating PV since 1973. The EPC firm is 100% owned by its employees, and 2020 revenues exceeded $3 billion.

Buckeye Partners has been increasing its stake in renewable energy as it furthers its environmental, social, and governance plan. In a 2020 year’s end report the petroleum piper said it was actively developing eight solar projects with a total capacity of 570MW in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and the Bahamas.

Grid modernization

Black & Veatch also recently released a new eBook, Grid Modernization 2022: Reliability and Resilience. The book offers a practical guide to grid modernization. Black & Veatch said that in 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy recorded 383 power outages, more than double the total from three years earlier. Not only do the outages cause human suffering, said B&V, but they also cost the US economy between $28 billion and $169 billion annually.

“Megatrends like digitization and decarbonization coupled with the increasing impacts of climate change and cybersecurity risks means that the industry’s core product of providing always-on, dependable electricity services is under serious threat,” said Kevin Ludwig, Grid Solutions Leader, Black & Veatch. “The good news is that our grids can be engineered to handle a wide range of severe conditions and threats as long as grid operators can assess, plan for, and reliably predict the risks.”

The US Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed in November, sets aside $550 billion in spending to rebuild roads and bridges, water infrastructure, resilience, internet, and more, and grid modernization is set to be a key feature of the Act.

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