Samsung Texas Plants to Get $6.4 Billion in Federal Funds

The U.S. Commerce Dept. is prepared to provide Samsung Electronics with $6.4 billion in direct funding to support the construction of two chip plants and the expansion of another Texas facility.

The funding is to support more than $40 billion that Samsung is investing in the construction of a pair of leading-edge semiconductor fabrication plants, or fabs, plus research and chip packaging facilities in Taylor, Texas, and in the expansion of an existing fab in Austin, the Commerce Dept. said. Details about the Austin project were not immediately available. The plant, built in 1996, is modeled after Samsung’s Hwaseong semiconductor plant in Korea and includes 2.8 million sq ft of buildings with two fabs, according to the firm. In addition to the direct funding, Samsung indicated it plans to claim an investment tax credit covering up to 25% of certain capital costs.

“We’re not just expanding production facilities, we’re strengthening the local semiconductor ecosystem and positioning the U.S. as a global semiconductor manufacturing destination,” Kye Hyun Kyung, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics’ device solutions division, said in a statement. Plans call for 6 million sq ft of buildings at the Taylor site, designed by Jacobs. Yates Construction Co. started work in 2022. The first plant would operate by 2026.

Chips made by Samsung at the Texas plants would be for artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and 5G communications. The preliminary agreement with the Commerce Dept. includes a commitment for Samsung to collaborate with the U.S. Defense Dept. at the Austin facility.


Entergy Seeks Power Plant Approval From Louisiana

Utility Entergy Louisiana, New Orleans, seeks state regulators’ approval by early July to build a 112-MW floating natural gas-fired power plant on a barge near an existing substation in Port Fourchon, which it claims could burn up to 25% hydrogen with modifications. Entergy requested the decision from the Louisiana Public Service Commission, but a final ruling in its requested time frame is not likely, said a spokesman.

The estimated $411-million Bayou Power Station project, including transmission upgrades, would be designed and built by Grand Isle Shipyards under a fixed-price, fixed-schedule contract, with Bollinger Shipyards building the barge, Entergy said. It would come online in the second half of 2028.

Entergy did not bid the project due to its unique characteristics, it told the commission. A request for proposals “would not be necessary to identify the lowest reasonable cost alternative,” the utility added.

Plans call for six Wartsila natural gas-fired reciprocating internal combustion engines that can start up without feed from the electric grid, known as “black start capability,” and a microgrid to serve the area if grid power is out of service. The project also includes a transmission interconnection and substation expansion.

Gary Dickens, Entergy vice president, said in testimony that a floating power plant can rise and fall in place with the tide or storm surges. Also, it could be moved to another location if needed elsewhere, he said. Several environmental and user interest advocacy groups told the commission they will “intervene” in the filing to comment on the project.


Fluor-Austin Team Starts San Antonio I-35 Expansion

Fluor Corp. said May 16 that its joint venture with Austin Bridge & Road—Lone Star Constructors—broke ground on Phase 1 of the Interstate-35 Northeast Expansion South project in San Antonio for the Texas Dept. of Transportation. Fluor said it was awarded the $700-million design-build project last year. Phase 1 includes three new elevated lanes—two main lanes and one high-occupancy vehicle lane in each direction from the I-35/I-410 South interchange to the I-35/I-410 North interchange along I-35. Substantial completion is set for early 2028. The I-35 corridor serves more than 150,000 vehicles per day.


storm flood prevention

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers feasibility study said an 18.5-mile levee is needed for St. Tammany Parish, La., as part of hurricane and storm flood prevention. It also calls for elevating homes.

Corps Study Suggests New Levee for Louisiana Parish

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hurricane-flood risk management study of Louisiana's heavily populated St. Tammany Parish has proposed an 18.5-mile levee that would protect western and southern areas of the city of Slidell.

The levee cost was not disclosed, but the Corps estimates the proposed measures would produce net benefits estimated at $237.8 million and decrease annual parish flood damage cost from $547.8 million to $162.9 million.

“We hope to have the chief of engineers of the Corps sign the report in May and that will allow us to go to Congress and ask for additional authorization and funding to move the project into the engineering and construction phase,” said Amy Dixon, Corps study project manager.

The Corps weighed 200 flood-control options, including retention ponds, small levees and diversions before making its recommendations. Levee work would not begin until 2027 at the earliest.


Texas EV Component Plant Gets $362-Million U.S. Loan

The U.S. Energy Dept. announced in April that it has closed a $362- million loan to CelLink Corp. for construction of a 294,297-sq-ft plant in Georgetown, Texas, set to produce what it said are “lighter and more efficient” flexible circuit wiring harnesses used in electric vehicle components.

The loan, announced conditionally in May 2023, will “partially reimburse CelLink” for construction of the plant that began operating last year, the firm said in a statement.

A spokeswoman declined to disclose the overall plant cost. But the statement also said the DOE loan “will help fund expansion” of the new facility “as the business grows.” The Texas plant has about 25 manufacturing lines that will be commissioned in stages over the next several years based on customer demand, DOE said. CelLink already operates a manufacturing facility in San Carlos, Calif.


Houston Utility Plans $2B Infrastructure Upgrade

CenterPoint Energy, the Houston-based electric transmission and distribution utility, last month proposed more than $2 billion in power infrastructure investment between 2025 and 2027, according to its filing to the Public Utility Commission of Texas. The utility said some upfront costs would be covered by the previously announced sale of its Louisiana and Mississippi natural gas divisions for $1.2 billion. CenterPoint also said it could seek an unspecified amount of federal and state funding for planned projects.