Coal, Gas

Coal Retirements to Push Down Reserves in Texas

By Editors of Power Engineering

ERCOT revealed the planned retirement of 4,500 MW of mostly coal-fired capacity in Texas will push reserve margins below the target of 13.75 percent, Platts reported.

Bill Magness, ERCOT president and CEO, said the system will soon determine if any of the facilities slated for closure are needed for system reliability, which could result in negotiating must-run contracts.

Vistra Energy announced the closure of Big Brown and Sandow, which generate a combined 2,400 MW, as well as the 1,800 MW Monticello plant.

Additionally, Talen Energy announced it will retire the 300-MW Unit 1 of the Barney Davis gas-fired plant, and the city of Garland announced it would close two gas-fired plants with a combined capacity of 118 MW at its Spencer plant.

ERCOT had previously predicted reserve margins would fall from 18.9 percent in 2018 to 16.8 percent in 2022. The system estimated 13.75 percent is necessary to prevent involuntary load shedding more than once every 10 years.

With the retirements, reserves would drop to 12.4 percent in the summer of 2018 to 10.6 percent in the summer of 2022.