Texas’ planned coal retirements could depress ERCOT reserve margin
Cheap natural gas and the rise of wind power is changing the Texas power market, and could mean the Lone Star State will need reliability must-run contracts to ensure sufficient capacity. An analysis will be completed before ERCOT’s next board meeting in December.
But as coal plants are forced offline, wind generation is stepping in to fill the gap, says research at the University of Texas.
Some 4,000 MW of wind capacity is expected to come online by 2018, according to Joshua Rhodes, research fellow at the University of Texas Austin’s Energy Institute. And while the coal and wind have very different capacity factors, he added that “it’s conceivable that energy generation from wind could possibly overtake coal in the near future.”
Earlier this month, Luminant revealed plans to shutter its Sandow and Big Brown power plants in early 2018, 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.