ERCOT: January coal generation significantly higher than last year
Reports of coal’s demise in Texas have been common in recent months, as cheap gas and renewables threaten to push the baseload plants out of the power mix. But at least for now, the resource is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence.
Coal’s generation share was down slightly from December, but up from about 25% last January, Platts reported.
ERCOT published a long-term resource assessment last summer which estimated nearly 10 GW of coal generation will retire by 2031, with almost all of it replaced by solar.
That jives with recent reports from Brattle and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), the latter of which said seven of 19 coal plants in the state are losing money and are at risk of closing unless wholesale prices rebound.
Gas prices have been low in Texas but recently the Henry Hub trading point has seen a rise above $3/MMBtu. A late-2016 spike in gas demand and power prices resulted from the Texas grid hitting a new record for winter demand, spiking to 57,958 MW during a particularly cold stretch.