A now-closed coal-fired power plant in Texas may be reopened in 2021 to help meet what is projected to be record high demand for electricity.
The major Texas grid operator indicated that TEERP Power Station LLC, the new owner of the 470-megawatt plant, is looking at restarting the plant that was closed in 2018.
Previously, the plant had been owned and operated by the Texas Municipal Power Agency made up four cities: Bryan, Garland, Denton and Greenville and their municipal electric systems.
The Gibbons Creek plant, located about 15 miles east of Bryan, has only been fired up in the summer in 2016 and 2017 for peak-demand use.
Coal-fired power plants have been hurt by cheaper and cleaner natural gas and the growing use of renewables.
There will likely be sufficient electricity in Texas in 2020 with a predicted peak load of 75,200 megawatts, topping the all-time peak record of 74,820 MW set last summer, said the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in a new report.
It had projected a peak summer load of 78,299 MW pre-coronavirus.
“ERCOT has added new electric supply resources, and strong economic growth continues to push up demand in ERCOT,” he said. “We expect grid operations to be very similar to last summer.”
He added, “There is a lot of uncertainty in today’s world, but we are confident that Texas will still be hot this summer.”
The need to declare an energy emergency will depend on a combination of factors, including demand, wind output and the number of generators on outage on any given day, it said.
ERCOT and its market participants are taking steps to ensure system reliability can be maintained during tight conditions.
Since last March, seven wind, solar and storage projects totaling 979 MW and contributing 276 MW to summer peak began operations in Texas, it said.
It said that 411 megawatts, mostly wind projects, that had been projected to begin service in summer 2020 have been delayed.