news by location
Editorial: ‘No reason to bail out coal industry’
A Texas newspaper is questioning former Energy Secretary Rick Perry—a former Texas governor—on a proposed federal program to save failing coal-fired power plants. “It’s bad economics and bad environmental policy. Perry should remember what he championed as governor. That would mean endorsing energy policies in the interest of American consumers and enterprise, not select industries.”
Texas town ‘knew it was coming,’ but is reeling nonetheless from plant closing
The town of Rockdale, Texas, lost much of its tax base with the recent shutdown of the coal-fired Sandow Power Plant. Over 300 jobs were eliminated by the closure in January, and the local school district will collect only $614,000 in property taxes this year from the plant’s owner, Luminant, compared with $4.1 million last year. “We knew that it was coming,” said one local official. “We just didn’t think that it was coming this fast.”
Texas city of 50,000 goes 100% renewable, setting a pace for others
Georgetown, Texas, a community of about 50,000 people near Austin, has become the first city in Texas to switch entirely to renewable electricity generation. The city has signed long-term deals for solar- and wind-powered energy in a move that has rid it of its former reliance on coal and natural gas and that serves as a model other municipalities can follow. “Georgetown has already reached out to neighboring cities to help them make the same changes,” reports an Austin cable-news station.
Utility trends don’t bode very well for fossil-fuel-fired electricity
Two huge interstate electricity companies—Vista Energy and Dominion Energy—are at the forefront of an industry retooling that favors cheap renewable forms of generation over natural gas and coal. The trend embodies “a bearish view of fossil-fuel energy” as solar and wind farms gain market share nationally, “curbing orders for new plants and forcing the closure of old ones.”
Editorial: China Is Becoming the New Texas
“Consider this a friendly warning that things can change quickly,” says a Texas editorial that acknowledges the fast pace of change across the global energy economy and that sees Asia as the epicenter of rapid advances in solar and wind. “Decades may seem like a long time — until you imagine trying to convince 1980s coal country that it needed to worry about natural gas.”
Coal company with mines in several states is in financial peril
An analysis of Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal shows that it is in deep financial peril, a situation that may affect communities in Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Wyoming as the company’s customer base dries up. “The cost inherent in coal-fired power are moving (utilities) away from coal," says the study’s author.
Texas Town Faces Transition in January Plant Closure
With the closure of the Sandow Coal Power Plant a few weeks off, the east-central town of Rockdale is trying to come to grips with the loss of hundreds of jobs. The plant is one of three being shuttered by Luminant, the biggest power producer in Texas. “Whatever happens, everyone agrees Rockdale needs to attract more industry and employers.”
In Texas Plant Closings, a National Trend Persists
Two imminent power-plant closings in Texas spell difficulties for a coal mine in Wyoming that depends on those plants for more than its demand. The closures of the Monticello and Big Brown plants by utility company Luminant will add to an expected shutdown in 2018 nationally of more than 13,600 megawatts of coal-fired power, compared with 7,600 in 2017.