AUSTIN - Just a week after announcing closure of its Monticello coal-fired power planting, Texas electric generator Luminant announced today planned closures of its Big Brown and Sandow coal plants, as well as their Three Oaks coal mine. Those plants have a combined electric capacity of 2,300 megawatts. According to Environment Texas Research and Policy Center's 2013 report America's Dirtiest Power Plants, the Big Brown power plant ranked as the 61st most polluting plant in the U.S., putting out 8.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions, equal to the pollution of 1.79 million cars.
"This is more good news for clean air and the health of Texas families," said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. "For decades these power plants have pumped out dangerous pollution that have cost thousands of lives. Fortunately, clean energy is booming and we don't need these old, dirty plants anymore. It's time for them to go and for Texas to keep transitioning toward a clean energy future."
Use of clean wind and solar energy, as well as natural gas, has boomed in recent years, chipping away at coal’s dominance. Since 2007, Texas has seen a 21,466% increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun and a 639% increase in wind power production. Wind generated nearly 23% of electricity in ERCOT in the first quarter of 2017. ERCOT projects continued dramatic growth of wind and solar in the coming years.
The announcement comes following a round of Trump Administration actions to try to prop up the coal industry, including proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan and Obama Administration rules to reduce smog in national parks.
"Let's be clear, the Trump Administration's actions to gut clean air standards are bad news for public health in Texas. The silver lining is that as much as the Administration attempts to prop up the coal industry, the economics of coal just aren't good anymore and we're likely to see more coal plant closures and rapid expansion of renewable energy. The dangers of global warming are too real and close to home to just leave that to chance, however, and the public needs to demand the federal government take action to ensure we reduce global warming pollution."