Baytown-West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation | 1300 Rollingbrook Dr., Suite 610 | Baytown, TX 77521 | 281.420.2961 |

Incentivizing Innovation in Baytown and Chambers County

May 19, 2023

For years, the energy industry has been an important part of the Baytown and Chambers County economy. These projects provide good paying jobs, stimulate investments into local businesses and provide tax revenue to help fund our local schools, emergency responders and community projects. 

We are excited to see two innovative technologies beginning to flourish in the EDF service area: advanced recycling and carbon capture and storage (CCS). Companies like PSC Group and ExxonMobil are already investing in these technologies, the latter building one of North America’s largest advanced recycling facilities capable of processing nearly 80 million tons of plastic waste annually. ExxonMobil has also announced its intent to deploy low-carbon hydrogen and CCS technologies locally.

As we look to the future, a new series of investments in technologies, like advanced recycling and CCS, not only offer our communities the opportunity to be a part of creating a more sustainable and lower-emission future, but also continue this economic legacy for decades to come. 

According to the most recently published EPA studies, only 10% of plastic waste is recycled. For a large metropolitan area like the Houston region, that means a significant amount of plastic finds its way into local landfills. Advanced recycling technologies enable the recycling of more than 90% of plastics that are not able to be recycled today, allowing for more plastic to be repurposed – transforming a vicious cycle into a virtuous one. 

Our region’s existing energy footprint and skilled labor force make us the ideal location to invest in emission reducing technologies like CCS. According to studies by the regional carbon capture deployment initiative, investments into CCS have the opportunity to create 27,580 jobs annually or approximately 413,000 jobs over a 15 year period. Local examples of this deployment include Calpine’s planned CCS project at its Baytown Energy Center; the Bayou Bend 100,000-acre CCS project in Chambers and Jefferson Counties; and Occidental Petroleum’s 55,000-acre CCS project in Chambers, Liberty and Jefferson Counties. 

Advanced recycling and CCS present a unique opportunity for the Baytown and Chambers County region to continue to lead in energy innovation. By embracing these technologies, we can attract new investments, create jobs, and promote long-term economic stability – but only if we have the tools to retain and recruit the right projects. A vital tax incentive program known as Chapter 313 expired at the end of last year. Baytown, Chambers County and the state of Texas stand to lose billions of dollars of capital investment – plus associated jobs and economic benefits – without this program. These projects have and will continue to look to neighboring states to find a better deal.

Fortunately, Texas legislators have revived a tax incentive tool with House Bill 5, a bipartisan effort that looks likely to pass both chambers. Also, while significant CCS legislation did not move forward this session, advanced recycling legislation House Bill 3060 received unanimous support and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk where we hope it’s signed into law.  

State and local leaders should continue to support these new technologies and the economic development tools required to recruit and retain investment. That’s the only way our region can take part in this energy evolution and realize the environmental and economic benefits that will come with it.