Texas wind capacity could soon exceed coal after retirements, new analysis says
- Recently-announced coal plant retirements, combined with the planned addition of nearly 4,000 MW of wind by 2018, means wind capacity could exceed coal as soon as next year.
- According to Joshua Rhodes, research fellow at the University of Texas Austin’s Energy Institute, "it’s conceivable that energy generation from wind could possibly overtake coal in the near future."
- Last week, Luminant revealed plans to shutter its Sandow and Big Brown power plants early next year, due to low wholesale power prices and difficulty competing with cheap gas-fired and renewable power. The company also plans to retire its coal-fired Monticello power plant in Titus County, Texas, in January.
Luminant's announcement that it will retire three Texas coal plants means the state will lose roughly 3,800 MW of power generation. But according to Rhodes, that will be more than made up for by almost 4,000 MW of wind power expected to come online.
"Wind capacity will soon exceed coal capacity in Texas," he said. And "given current capacity factors for the respective technologies, it’s conceivable that energy generation from wind could possibly overtake coal in the near future."
According to Rhodes, Texas will have almost 24 GW of wind capacity next year, compared with 20.3 GW of coal capacity.
While the Trump administration has worked to support coal, those efforts have so-far met with limited results.
Luminant's retirement plans come just as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt moved to rescind the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, which sought to cut emissions from power plants. And Energy Secretary Rick Perry is pushing for compensation for baseload generation in wholesale markets, but that would not impact the Electric Reliability Council of Texas markets, which are exempt from federal regulation.
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