A screenshot of a Google Maps image of the Sandow Power Plant in Milam County, Texas. On Oct. 13, 2017, Dallas-based Vistra Energy announced it shut down this plant and the Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County and lay off hundreds of workers.
A screenshot of a Google Maps image of the Sandow Power Plant in Milam County, Texas. On Oct. 13, 2017, Dallas-based Vistra Energy announced it shut down this plant and the Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone
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Photo: Google Street View
Total layoff number: 110
Total layoff number: 110
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Vistra Energy said it plans to shutter two more Texas coal-fired power plants and cut more than 600 jobs, blaming low electricity prices and competition from power generated by natural gas and renewable sources.
The two power plants, operated by Vistra’s subsidiary Luminant, would close in early 2018, eliminating a combined generation capacity of 2,300 megwatts of electricity, enough to power about 460,000 Texas homes on a hot summer day. Just last week, Vistra said it would shutter its Monticello plant in East Texas, which has the capacity to generate about 1,800 megawatts.
The other plants that Vistra wants to close are located in Central Texas: Sandow Power Plant in Milam County and its Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County. Vistra estimates some 650 workers, including those that coal mines that supply the plants, will lose jobs.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to more than a one-month low last week as claims in Texas and Florida continued to decline after being boosted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 243,000 for the week ended Oct. 7, the lowest level since late August, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
“It is never easy to announce an action that has a significant impact on our people,” said Curt Morgan, Vistra’s chief executive. “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 necessary.”
The shutdowns must be approved by the state’s grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which is responsible for maintaining the stability of the power grid. Last year, ERCOT blocked the shutdown of an NRG power plant out of concern the power loss would compromise the grid’s reliability.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration said it would repeal the Clean Power Plan, a key initiative of President Barack Obama to address climate change. President Donald Trump called the effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions part of the regulatory “war on coal”
Allan Koenig, a Vistra spokesman, said the decision to shutter the plants was not driven by current or future regulations.
“These closures are because these two sites are economically challenged,” he said, “and have been for some time given low wholesale market prices due to low natural gas prices and an oversupply of generation, including subsidized renewables.”