Texas coal plant announces plans to shut down

Texas coal plant announces plans to shut down
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A northern Texas coal fired plant is adding itself to a growing list of coal refineries shutting their doors.

Officials announced Tuesday that the Oklaunion plant based in Vernon, Texas, will retire in 2020, citing a failure to compete in the energy market, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The owners voted to close the plant after coming to terms with the fact that the 700-megawatt coal plant was not competitive in the state’s energy market run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, American Electric Power Texas spokesman Greg Blair told the Chronicle.

“The owners voted to close the plant between April and Oct. of 2020. There's a lot more approvals that need to be gotten before that happens, but really the plant was no longer competitive in the ERCOT market," he said.

The plant is at least the fifth one in Texas to close, or to announce plans to close, this year. It joins a number of other coal plants nationwide that are shuttering following a struggle to maintain a profit.

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Last week, a struggling coal fire plant that Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeAlaska oil and gas lease sale nets .5 million Former Koch adviser to oversee Interior Department's FOIA requests The Year Ahead: Dems under pressure to deliver on green agenda MORE championed announced it will shut down next year after a planned sale fell through.

The Navajo Generating Station (NGS) on the Arizona-Utah border announced it would cease operations in a year’s time after the company failed to seal a deal with New York-based Avenue Capital and Chicago-based Middle River Power.

As the price of natural gas production has decreased over time, coal fired plants have struggled to be a competitive energy source.

Trump on the campaign trail made a number of promises that he would help bring coal back once he was President, but the administration has struggled to find ways to prop up the seemingly dying industry.

Electricity generation from natural gas surpassed coal as the biggest source of U.S. electricity generation in 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Nearly 47 percent of the power plants that retired between 2008 and 2017 were coal fired plants--the largest portion, the group found.