- A new report released by Public Citizen and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) predicts seven of Texas' 19 coal plants are losing money — possibly to the tune of $160 million annually — and will likely be shuttered if wholesale power prices do not rebound.
- The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) published a long-term resource assessment this summer that estimated nearly 10 GW of coal generation will retire by 2031, with almost all of it replaced by solar.
- Coal makes up about a quarter of the state's generation right now, but renewables are being integrated quickly. ERCOT expects solar capacity will grow from 3% to 17% of the capacity mix.
Coal is generating less power and receiving less revenue for what it does produce, putting about a third of the state's plants at risk of closure according to a new report.
According to the report, more than a half dozen plants are at risk, including three owned by public utilities, three by Luminant and one by Dynergy.
In addition to cheap gas, emissions regulations are forcing plants to install costly upgrades. The EPA's regional haze rule will require changes to 13 coal units and could push up to 5 GW of retirements in the next five years, according to ERCOT's 2016 Long-Term System Assessment. The IEEFA report notes that four of the merchant plants examined in the report will need to make improvements.
The grid operator expects coal to account for less than 10% of its capacity mix by 2031, and in nearly every scenario, it is solar that makes up the loss. Additions of between 14.5 GW and 27 GW of solar capacity are projected, ERCOT said this summer.
Earlier this summer, El Paso Electric announced it was no longer burning coal to generate electricity, making it the first electric utility in Texas and New Mexico to reach that mark.