If you haven’t already heard the news, Texas energy providers are relying more and more on natural gas and wind energy options than they have in decades. These natural options are becoming the primary source for energy as they are abundant and less costly than other options.
Coal isn’t completely obsolete as an energy source. Just ten years ago, coal was in the lead across more than half of the nation’s states. A recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration states that coal is still leading the generation of electricity in a handful of states (18), compared to the 16 that are using natural gas solutions. Still, the decline of coal as a primary source for energy is reducing dramatically.
However, in Texas, natural gas has been taking the lead for the last few decades. Because of the growth of so many renewable sources, Texas’ electricity has shown calculations of wind energy doubling in percentage in just the last five years.
What’s more, Solar Energy Industries Association shared an additional report. Texas energy providers moved up to number five in the nation in solar electricity capacity. This is up four spots in just the span of a few years. The solar capacity for Texas increased by over 60% in the last year alone.
So, curious what is replacing this otherwise long-used resource? Of the states that were relying heavily upon coal, many have exchanged for natural gas. As a whole, the nation relied more on natural gas than coal this past calendar year.
With Texas in particular, the use of coal to generate electricity has decreased dramatically. In fact, it tallies to less than one-fourth of the electricity generated, coming in at just under 24%. This is a significant drop of nearly 10% in just one year.
Texas Energy Providers Closing Down Coal
It is no surprise that this decrease in coal usage also means the increase in news that some Texas energy providers are closing their coal-dependent, electricity-generating plants.
Texas’ largest electricity generator, Luminant, published statements recently. They have intentions to shut down three of their large coal-fired power plants by the end of this year. The three plants combined accounted for about 22 percent of the state’s coal power plant capacity. Those plants helped to power 2 million homes. They further shared that the availability of wind energy and solar have contributed greatly to this competitive market, leaving coal an unprofitable option.
Naturally, plant closures can cause distress in a state where record heat waves take place. However, Texas, managed to fair just fine during this July’s brief, yet brutal heat wave.
In addition to Luminant’s announcement, the coal-fired Gibbon Creek plant in southeast Texas is suspected to be affected also. The fall and winter months as wholesale electricity prices will become cheaper.
The plant’s owner, the Texas Municipal Power Agency shut down the plant for both seasons last year and may do the same this year, citing that the plant was economical only in the hotter months. For this reason, they have been trying to sell the plant.