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Mayor Castro Responds to CNN Story on OCI Solar Deal

Eileen Pace
Texas Public Radio

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and CPS-Energy are responding to a CNN news story about a solar energy deal that casts the political rising star in a negative light.

When Mayor Julian Castro stepped onto the stage of the Democratic National Convention he was also stepping into a more critical arena of national politics where nearly every move is scrutinized.

And on Friday, a story on the CNN program "Erin Burnett’s Out Front" covered a CPS-Energy solar energy deal that Castro was involved in that went to a South Korean company and not a company in the United States.

“Not only did OCI have limited experience, but their bid came in at a higher price according to multiple sources familiar with the bids," stated the report. "OCI offered to sell San Antonio power at 11 cents per kilowatt hour – one of the U. S. consortiums with more solar experience was offering was offering 9.8 cents.”

Castro said the story appeared to deliberately ignore key facts about the deal.

“That CNN reporter, Ted Rowlands, ought to be embarrassed by the sloppy and misleading reporting in that story," said Castro. "It’s a seven minute story and the guy never mentions that the actual company that got the bid is going to relocate their corporate headquarters to San Antonio. It doesn’t mention that all of the jobs that are being created are being created right here in San Antonio – 805 manufacturing, assembly and other jobs. It was just amazing to watch.”  

In a statement, CPS Energy defends the deal comparing bringing OCI Solar to San Antonio with the arrival of Toyota in the city.

"This deal also has the potential to transform our community. We anticipate new companies that support the OCI Solar consortium to set up shop here, too, bringing potentially thousands of highly skilled jobs.  San Antonio is positioned to be a solar manufacturing hub for our country, and this is the start of that eco-system," said CPS.

The CNN story does not make any accusations that anything illegal, unethical or improper took place in the solar deal.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi