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Luminant to bring back coal-fired plants ahead of schedule

Luminant Generation said it will bring three coal-fired power units back into production sooner than previously planned as higher Texas power prices make the units more economic. The big Dallas-based electricity generator had shut down the plants, located in East Texas, last fall, saying the state's low wholesale power prices didn't justify their operation. It will now bring back two units by Feb. 15 and a third unit by March 1. They have combined capacity of 1,880 megawatts.

Especially cold weather in Texas and much of the nation in recent months has driven up both the price of natural gas and of electricity in deregulated markets. Natural gas is the No. 1 fuel for generating electricity in Texas, but coal is close behind. "Power prices have risen in recent weeks following the rise in natural gas prices due to the cold weather across the nation that is increasing demand," Luminant spokesman Brad Watson said in a prepared release. "By bringing these units back online, we not only make more electricity capacity available for Texas' grid, we make more natural gas available for Texas and the rest of the nation that would otherwise have been used for electricity generation here."

-- Jim Fuquay



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