Samsung unit considers $673 mln solar power plants in Texas -documents

Berkeley, CALIFORNIA, April 24 (Reuters) - A unit of Samsung C&T is considering investing $673 million in building solar power plants in Texas, aiming to start commercial production in December 2023, documents reviewed by Reuters showed.

The solar facilities will be located in the Milam county, Texas, the documents showed. The county is less than a two-hour drive to Samsung Electronics’ chip factory in Austin where the South Korean firm is considering building a new $17 billion chip plant.

Four school districts in the Milam county recently approved separate incentive agreements with Ben Milam Solar 1, 2, 3 LLC whose parent is Samsung C&T, a construction affiliate of Samsung Electronics, according to thee documents.

With a combined operating capacity of approximately 700 megawatts, the solar power factories will start construction in June 2022, according to the documents.

A Samsung C&T official told Reuters that it is currently “proceeding approval procedures with the state” but there are no current discussions with Samsung Electronics regarding the project.

The appeal of solar and wind power is growing quickly as countries around the world transition from fossil fuels to cleaner renewable sources of power to stop global warming.

President Joe Biden’s administration wants all U.S. power to come from non-carbon-emitting sources like nuclear and renewables by 2035.

Chipmakers like Samsung Electronics, Intel and TSMC have pledged to boost use of renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint.

Chip manufacturing, which requires large amount of energy as well as gases and chemicals, accounts for most of the carbon output attributable to data centers and mobile phones, according to a research by Harvard University, Facebook Inc. and Arizona State University.

Samsung Electronics and other chipmakers earlier this year suffered from plant suspensions as a result of winter storm and power crisis in Texas, exacerbating a global chip capacity crunch. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Michael Perry)