A new study says the Texas electric grid would still be reliable if two of the state's coal plants shut down in the coming years.
The study comes from a progressive advocacy group that calls some coal plants "old, inefficient and dirty." Consulting firm Electric Power Engineers performed the study for the group Public Citizen. It looked at what would happen if Dallas company Luminant closed its Big Brown and Monticello plants by the year 2021.
"If these big coal plants do retire, it's not going to be a whole lot of the energy we rely upon,” says Public Citizen’s Texas Director Tom Smith. “But there are significant additional resources that will come in and fill the hole in the energy in East Texas.”
Those resources would be new wind, solar and natural gas projects, but the study acknowledges this envisioned future depends on assumptions about when such projects come online. If those timelines change, the effect of shuttering coal plants could change.
Luminant would not comment on the report. Nationwide, coal use for electricity has been dropping since 2008. President Trump has nonetheless promised to revitalize the industry, despite its competition with cheaper natural gas.