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

Kobe Bryant calls looking at future after basketball ‘scary as hell,’ shares life in new documentary

first_imgThe unexpected time off last season forced Bryant to think about his post-basketball future.“I’m afraid, too,” he said Friday at the summer TV critics’ meeting. “You really have to lean on muses and mentors going forward, just as I did as a kid. It’s about having that next wave of things, which is scary as hell, but it’s fun at the same time.”Bryant said this film is different than the 2009 ESPN documentary “Kobe Doin’ Work,” directed by Spike Lee. The new film includes Magic Johnson and former Lakers coach and current Knicks president Phil Jackson.“It’s more introspective,” he said. “It’s about who or what has inspired me.”Bryant is credited as an executive producer on the Showtime film, a vanity credit only. “I’m not even quite sure what it is they do,” he said.He arrived 30 minutes late for his session with critics.“I was out looking for a head coach,” he said, joking.The Lakers remain without a coach, and big man Pau Gasol recently chose to leave for Chicago as a free agent. The team failed in its bid to land Carmelo Anthony, too.“We’re still trying to figure the roster out,” Bryant said. “We don’t know what system we’re going to be operating out of. A lot of those questions remain to be answered.”Bryant reaffirmed he was “very happy” with the effort the Lakers made in trying to land Anthony and retain Gasol. He indicated approval of general manager Mitch Kupchak’s recent signings of complementary players.“It’s my job to go out there next season and lay it all out there on the line and get us to that elite level,” he said. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Kobe Bryant says he’s “scared” about his future after basketball, although he’s embracing the challenge of finding something that he can be as passionate about as sports.Bryant turns 36 next month and is under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for two more years. He was limited to just six games last season because of two major leg injuries, leaving him with the kind of idle time he never had before in his career.Bryant gives a peek into his life in a Showtime documentary airing in November. “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” covers much of last season, when Bryant was sidelined and the Lakers finished 27-55, the most losses in club history.“It’s a fascinating time to be around this guy,” said Gotham Chopra, who directed the film. “There’s this sort of looking forward to life after basketball. This is a guy that’s asking a lot of questions.”last_img read more