Texas municipality mothballs 470 MW of coal for the winter
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says it will have sufficient generation to meet forecasted peak demand this fall and winter, but has slightly adjusted its resources to account for a 470 MW coal facility opting to go temporarily offline.
Just as it did last year, the Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) will mothball its Gibbons Creek plant in October and instead purchase power in the market. ERCOT officials say they expect the plant to be back online in mid-May or mid-July, when the prices are higher.
ERCOT’s fall Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) indicates more than 81,000 MW of resource capacity is expected to be available for peak demand. But officials say there are a growing number of coal plants choosing to shut down during mild periods when they are unable to compete economically.
Texas officials say there is sufficient generation heading into the fall, but the estimate of available resources is 702 MW lower than believed when the preliminary outlook was published, in part due to a delayed solar project and unit downrates.
But the largest reason for the decline is the storage of the 470 MW Gibbons Creek facility, owned by four Texas communities: Bryan, Denton, Garland and Greenville.
Seasonal availability is a growing trend for coal plants, ERCOT officials said during the grid operator’s call to announce the resource outlook. TMPA did the same thing last year; no one at the organization was available to comment.