Grid operator notified: Deely coal plant operations to be indefinitely suspended in 2018

By on October 28, 2013

As part of its long range planning, CPS Energy on Friday notified the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) of its intent to suspend operations indefinitely at JT Deely Units 1 and 2, effective Dec. 31, 2018.

The company’s Board of Trustees is expected to approve a resolution that formally confirms the decision at its Nov. 18 meeting.

The Deely units have supplied the Greater San Antonio community with 871 megawatts of reliable, affordable electricity since 1977. The written notification is the definitive step toward closing the plant that sits on Calaveras Lake in southeast Bexar County.

In 2011, CEO Doyle Beneby proposed retiring the Deely units 15 years ahead of schedule in order to avoid spending upwards of $550 million in environmental retrofits that would have upgraded the units in advance of new regulatory emissions requirements.

In 2012, CPS Energy purchased the 800-MW Rio Nogales combined cycle natural gas plant to replace the energy supply of the older coal units. This measure, along with renewable resources, efficiency programs and conservation will reduce pollutants in the Greater San Antonio area at a level equivalent to removing 1.5 million cars from the road by 2020.

“The retirement of the Deely coal plants will mean cleaner air to breathe and fewer people with asthma,” said Karen Hadden, executive director of the SEED Coalition, who worked with CPS Energy more than a decade ago to bring cleaner air to San Antonio. The closure “will especially improve the health of children, the elderly and those with breathing impairments.”

“We’re currently considering ways to repurpose the plant for other, less carbon-intense power production,” said Cris Eugster, executive vice president and chief generation and strategy officer. “We haven’t determined what that next-generation supply will be, and we won’t need it until 2020. But these are long-term plans and big decisions that take time.”

“We are glad CPS has taken this step to lock in their decision to retire Deely,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, state director of Public Citizen, which advocates for affordable, clean and sustainable energy. “It’s another way CPS has shown its leadership among utilities in Texas.”

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