Oklaunion joins long list of Texas coal plants to fail economic test

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Texas Observer:Chalk this one up as another loss for the White House.Last month, American Electric Power (AEP) announced that it would close its 650-megawatt power plant in Vernon, a rural community of 11,000 just south of the Texas-Oklahoma line, by September 2020. The closure of the Oklaunion Power Station is the latest in a string of shuttered coal-fired power plants across the state: Since 2011, at least six have been mothballed, scheduled for retirement or closed altogether, casualties of cheap natural gas and a booming renewables sector.While it’s not shocking that another Texas coal plant has succumbed to market headwinds, it is somewhat surprising that Oklaunion was the latest casualty. At only 31 years old, it’s more than two decades away from the typical retirement age of 54. The plant was also running relatively efficiently until 2013, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Plant efficiency has dropped in the years since, however, sapping profits and forcing AEP to pull the plug. The impending closure maps a tough road ahead for Texas’ aging fleet of coal plants, some of which also face the prospect of installing expensive new pollution controls to comply with Obama-era environmental regulations (Oklaunion itself is among the state’s top 10 emitters of nitrogen oxide, according to the Sierra Club).Not only are coal plants prone to spewing greenhouse gases and smog-producing chemical compounds, many facilities nationwide have grown inefficient and costly to operate as they’ve aged. Electric utilities are looking for cheaper, more efficient power sources such as natural gas and wind. For the state’s power generators, the writing is on the wall: There’s little room for coal in Texas’ future.Oklaunion’s shutdown bookends a series of coal-fired power plant closures in Texas. The trend began in 2011 when CPS Energy, San Antonio’s municipal electric utility, chose to mothball its 871-megawatt J.T. Deely Power Plant instead of retrofitting it with new pollution controls. In 2016, AEP retired its coal-burning units at the Welsh Power Plant for similar reasons. Then, in late 2017, Luminant announced that it would close three of its coal-fired plants in Texas: Monticello (Mt. Pleasant), Big Brown (Fairfield) and Sandow (Rockdale), representing a combined capacity of 4,600 megawatts (1 megawatt powers about 750 homes at once). The Three Oak coal mine supplying Sandow has also closed.More: Despite Trump and Rick Perry’s best efforts, another coal plant eats the dust in Texas Oklaunion joins long list of Texas coal plants to fail economic testlast_img read more

Student T-shirt company raises money for community

first_img“We really hope to just provide support to these businesses and say that even though we’re not on campus, and we’re not actually patronizing your store in person, we’re still here for you and we still appreciate what you’re doing for us as students,” Monro said. Monro said Fight Online is also currently creating a licensing agreement with the help of Wright and is considering donating to establishments depending on the number of students who visit.  Of the Fight Online duo, Fisher takes on the product design and development, using skills she accrued with her communication design minor. Monro handles the entrepreneurial side, working with mentors from the Marshall Career Advantage Mentor Program to help reach out to different offices on campus and to facilitate the growth of the business.  The duo named their clothing line Fight Online to commemorate USC’s transition to online learning. The business initially started with a playful intent. After realizing a deserted campus also meant that many local businesses near USC, including Caveman Kitchen and El Huero, were losing sources of revenue from student customers, they decided to refocus their work to provide financial support for local businesses. “What touched me about [Fight Online] was that recognition that our students are getting to know the local vendors,” Folt said. “They want to find a way to do something that I think is artistic and entrepreneurial.” For Folt, initiatives like Fight Online show how students respond to crises: by helping those around them.  Monro and Fisher received increased support after emailing President Carol Folt to see what avenues they could explore with their idea. Folt put them in contact with David Wright, senior vice president of administration, whose duties include overseeing the USC Bookstore, and Wright helped the pair sell more shirts and receive more donations by advertising the product on the USC Bookstore website and expediting the licensure process for the business.  “We wanted it to be really simple and sleek and not obnoxious or anything,” Monro said. “We found different design templates on the Bonfire website, and Fisher was able to put something together to make it look clean and sharp.” center_img Monro and Fisher originally spent a few days designing the T-shirts before working through Bonfire, a site that facilitates custom shirts for fundraising.   The brand has sold nearly  600 shirts through the Bonfire website and the USC Bookstore and continues to grow its customer base through social media and USC newsletters of organizations including the Blackstone Launchpad. Awaiting purchase money from Bonfire, the pair has yet to distribute financial proceeds to local businesses, including El Huero and 3 Brother’s Bike Shop.  With the coronavirus pandemic forcing institutions to postpone college milestones, including graduation, many students will instead spend the remainder of their spring semester indoors on Zoom. Seniors Claire Monro and Claire Fisher decided to commemorate their last semester at USC through their clothing business Fight Online while giving thanks to the local businesses that helped make their experience on campus worthwhile. “When we were thinking about who to donate to, we kept going back and forth thinking who really had an impact on our time at USC and it differed for every person we asked,” Monro said.  Fight Online, the brainchild of two Marshall School of Business seniors, launched last month. The founders, Claire Monro and Claire Fisher, said they wanted to raise money for businesses that made their time at USC memorable. (Photo courtesy of Fight Online) “I think they were able to double the amount of money that they could actually donate because they got to work in partnership with the bookstore,” Folt said. “It’s one of those things that people want to help each other. It’s just so touching to me that everybody that writes to me seems to want to help somebody else and so whenever I can help someone help someone else, I’m finding that’s something that I really want to do.” last_img read more