Luminant to idle two Monticello coal units until next spring

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in a Sept. 4 system update that on Aug. 31, owners of the coal-fired Monticello Units 1 and 2 submitted a Notification of Suspension of Operations requesting authorization to mothball the units through the winter and into the spring of next year.

ERCOT said it is evaluating the request. For purposes of the Sept. 4 assessment, the 1,160 MW represented by the Monticello units are included in the “mothball category.” The plant is controlled by the Luminant unit of Energy Future Holdings. Luminant had said it might have to idle these two units due to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, but indicated that a federal court’s recent rejection of the rule had given those units a reprieve.

Despite these potential idlings, the ERCOT region is expected to have sufficient installed generating capacity to serve forecasted peak demands with a historically typical amount of generation outages in the upcoming winter season, the council said. ERCOT does not anticipate that it will need to declare an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) during the winter of 2012-2013. However, if a higher-than-normal number of forced generation outages occur during a period of record-breaking weather conditions, the ERCOT system could have insufficient resources available to serve those demands. This insufficiency would result in the need for rotating outages to maintain the integrity of the system as a whole, the council noted.

Persistent drought conditions in ERCOT do not pose a threat to generation operations this winter, the council added.

Monticello is a three-unit, lignite-fueled power plant located in Titus County. Completed in 1978, the plant has an operating capacity of 1,880 MW.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.