No Need for New Conventional Coal Plants

Jim MarstonA New York Times Green Inc. article yesterday — “Big Utilities Pull Back on Coal Plant Plans” — stated that many Southwest utilities were shifting away from coal-generated power and moving toward renewables and energy efficiency. Many plants that were planned are now canceled or on hold.

So my question for all Texans is, “Why would we foolishly try to build even one more conventional coal plant?”

This entry was posted in Climate, Texas. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted October 1, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Hi Jim, thanks for this. I just posted a short piece to the Austin Eco Network, re: our existing coal plant. Please take a look, thanks……….

    Austin’s Coal Plant: too ri$ky

    Concerning prices and Austin’s electricity future — the Pace Reports have made their recommendations without regard for alarming financial risks related to keeping the coal plant burning. Austin’s coal plant is a bad investment; vulnerable to expensive clean air regulation, a volatile fuel market, and more.

    Yes, Austin’s coal plant has been a great fit for providing electricity when we need it, year-round, for about 30 years. But today, our power plant is a clunker:

    1. Antique. In 2007, Austin’s coal plant ranked #7 most polluting industrial complex in Texas, out of 2,045 surveyed. (1)
    2. Vulnerable. As federal climate legislation becomes a factor, with carbon caps and the like, coal’s costs “will likely double” according to Austin Energy’s own statements. (2)
    3. Volatile fuel market. Purchasing coal to burn in the coal plant costs money. Last year Austin Energy’s coal fuel expenses went up 73% from the previous year. (3)
    4. Rising operations costs. Austin’s coal expenditures tripled in 10 years to $180 million in 2008. (4) Even the Pace Report clearly shows Austin’s coal costing $1 more per MegaWatt than Austin’s renewables portfolio, by 2020. (5)

    Austin is about leadership.
    Council should move immediately to refocusing Austin Energy’s generation plan. The Pace Reports, thus far, have left out adequate analysis of our coal plant’s financial risks. Austin’s business leaders, City planners, advocates for the poor, and environmental activists need to look deeply at the financial risks associated with keeping this coal plant.


    *Read long version of this post:

    (1) Source: Info provided by Neil Carmen, Clean Air Program Director, Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club. Based on data from The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s annual air emissions studies. Out of 2,045 industrial plants reporting air emissions in Texas, Austin’s Fayette Power Plant reported 88,277,040 pounds of criteria air emissions in 2007, equating to 90.6 pounds per each person in Austin using 974,365 as the population in Travis County. (more references via:…)
    (2) Source: extracted from info supplied by Austin Energy, 9-2-09 (more via
    (3) Source: data from Austin Energy for the Fayette Coal Power Project (more via
    (4) Source: –
    (5) Source: Info taken from Pace Report’s “Risk Analysis” powerpoint presentation (Sept. 2009).

  2. Posted November 5, 2009 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    That the best idea i’ve ever met,Thanks for your great ideas.Enjoy it!

  3. Posted February 12, 2010 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    good read thanks for the share

  4. Posted February 20, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I think people should use renewable sources of energy and I think they’re unlimited…

  5. Posted March 14, 2010 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    nice article thanks

  6. Posted March 30, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Right now the USA produces approximately 50% of its power by burning coal. However, several coal power plant plans have recently been postponed or scrapped.

    The University of Wisconsin’s Charter Street power plant will stop burning coal and convert instead to biomass by 2012.

    In Pomeroy Ohio, plans for an American Electric Power “clean-coal” power plant have been put on temporary hold, although just for economic reasons.

  7. Posted April 6, 2010 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    awesome work thanks

  8. Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    This is a great post you have written. Having this information will prove to be very useful going forward. Thanks

  9. Posted May 4, 2010 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    great post here as always wroth checking like usual when i come here

  10. Posted May 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I found this good information and I would like to show it on my website.

  11. Posted May 26, 2010 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    This is a great post you have written. Having this information will prove to be very useful going forward. Thanks

  12. Posted May 28, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Zure blog oso interesgarria. bezala eduki behar izan naiz informazio hori bilatzen eta azkenean lortu dira nahi nuke. Eskerrik asko.

  13. Posted June 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    The Big 12 has 10 schools, the Big 10 has 12 – Perfect, I had a hard enough time explaining to my girlfriend why it made sense the Big 10 had 11 schools.