Luminant to Close Two Coal
Plants in Central Texas
The plants, the two-unit Sandow Power
Plant in Milam County and the two-unit
Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County,
were both described by the company as
“economically-challenged” due to sustained low wholesale power prices, an
oversupplied renewable generation market
and low natural gas prices.
“This announcement is a difficult one
to make,” said Curt
Morgan, Vistra Energy’s
president and CEO. “It
is never easy to announce an action that
has a significant impact
on our people. Though the long-term economic viability of these plants has been in
question for some time, our year-long analysis indicates this announcement is now
The closing of Sandow involved a
contract termination agreement with
Alcoa, as well as the impending closure
of the Three Oaks Mine which supports
The final day of operations is set to
be Jan. 11, 2018.
Offshore Wind Could
Generate Five Times the
Energy as Onshore
Researchers at the Carnegie Institute of
Science claim that faster ocean wind speeds
could give offshore wind turbines the
potential to generate five times as much
electricity as land-based turbines.
The majority of wind used by wind turbines originates higher up in the atmosphere and then travels down.
In their study, Anna Possner and Ken
Caldeira pose the question of whether the
atmosphere over the ocean could move
more energy downward than the atmosphere over land.
In particular, they believe the drag introduced by wind turbines would not slow
down wind turbines in the North Atlantic
as they would over land, due to large
amounts of heat pouring out of the North
Atlantic Ocean during the winter.
Second Steam Generator
Placed at Vogtle Expansion
Though the ultimate fate of the Vogtle
nuclear expansion has yet to be decided,
development of the site continues with the
placement of a second 1. 4 million-pound
steam generator at the site’s Unit 3.
Both of the new AP1000 units at the
Vogtle expansion will use two steam generators. All four are now onsite, Georgia
The company said “momentum has
accelerated” on the project, with other milestones including a concrete ‘super placement’ for Unit 3 and the lift of the 237-ton
CA03 module for Unit 4.
Forecast Shows Growth
of Coal Production
The latest Short-Term Energy Forecast
from the Energy Information Administration indicates coal production continued
to grow in September.
An estimated 66 million short tons of
coal was produced during the month, up
one percent from the same time last year.
The year-to-date production total now
stands at 591 MMst, up 12 percent from
the first nine months of the previous year.
By year-end, the EIA expects coal production to increase by eight percent before
slowing to a one percent growth in 2018.
Coal exports through July also grew,
with the 51 MMst total 62 percent higher
than the same period in 2016. That total
is likely to slow, as the year-end total is
expected to be 75 MMst, or 24 percent
higher than 2016.
Natural gas production is predicted to
average 73.6 billion cubic feet per day in
2017, up by 0.8 Bcf/d from 2016. Production in 2018 is forecast for 4. 9 Bcf/d higher
than 2017’s level.
Analysis Suggests 42
Percent of U.S. Coal Plants
Could Retire or Convert
A new study by the Union of Concerned
Scientists suggests up to 42 percent of coal
plants in the United States could shut down
or convert to natural gas in the near future.
That number includes an estimated 25
percent that have already announced a retirement date or plans to convert to natural
gas, and another 17 percent that are actively
losing money and could face shutdown.
The UCS indicated that, between 2008
and 2016, 17 percent of U.S. coal capaci-ty retired and another four percent
converted to natural gas and other fuels. As
a result, coal’s share of electrical generation
fell from 51 percent in 2008 to 31 percent
Ohio Siting Board Approves
Over 2 GW of Gas Plants
The Ohio Siting Board has approved the
development of two new gas-fired plants
with a combined output of over 2
GW, Energy Business Review reported.
The first of these is the Guernsey Power
Station, which will have a capacity of 1. 1
GW and be constructed by Guernsey Power
Station LLC in Guernsey County. The board
indicated it will feature three units in a
single-shaft configuration with gas and
That plant is expected to break ground
in December and start commercial operations by October 2020.
The second plant, the 940-MW Trumbull Energy Center, will be built by Clean
Energy Future-Trumbull in Trumbull
County. The facility will feature two units
with heat recovery steam generators and
a steam turbine.
Construction of that plant will start
in November with operations set for
Annual Energy Storage
Installations to Top
14 GW by 2026
A new study by Navigant Research indicates annual installations of utili-ty-scale power storage for transmission and
distribution deferral is expected to grow
rapidly over the next decade.
Specifically, installations are expected to
grow from 331.7 MW this year to 14,324.8
MW in 2026.
“The major advantage energy storage
has compared to conventional T&D upgrades results from the flexibility related to
how storage systems can be deployed and