As a result of heavy-handed EPA rules, the largest power plant operator in Texas is being forced to close two large coal-fired power units which will lead to 500 job cuts.
Dallas-based Luminant is enacting these measures to comply with the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which was enacted in July. The government says the rule, which takes effect on January 1, will “protect the health of millions of Americans.” It requires power plants to reduce polluting emissions.
“While Luminant is making preparations to meet the rule’s compliance deadline, this morning it also filed a legal challenge in an effort to protect facilities and employees, and to minimize the harm this rule will cause to electric reliability in Texas,” the company said in a statement.
ERCOT, the state’s main power grid operator, said last month the new rule could threaten the reliability of the state’s power grid by forcing operators to take older coal-fired units offline.
Luminant says to meet the January 1 deadline, it will idle its Monticello Units 1 and 2 in Northeast Texas. Together, the units generate about 1200 megawatts of power. And it seems the state of the Texas power grid needs about every watt it can get. Texas’ power grid was in a constant flux of some emergency conservation alert or another and came close to rolling blackouts twice this summer. Record-breaking heat and drought combined with a large number of plant outages due to unscheduled maintenance caused several days of tight reserves.
Luminant is the biggest electricity generator in Texas. It is owned by Energy Future Holdings, the same company that owns Oncor, which distributes power statewide, and TXU Energy, the state’s biggest retail electric provider.
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