Speaking of mothballed fleets… Now we all know that Texas wants to build a gazillion or two megawatts of new coal plants. It’s bad enough that they propose coal plants, and now NRG jumps into the fray and proposes a coal gasification (IGCC) plant. I’ve been talking and emailing with a bunch of people down there of all power plant persuasions, because why aren’t they doing wind and gas combo like we’ve started here? Or wind and concentrated solar given the solar and land resource. In the midst of this, it occurred to me that I’d better take a look at the NERC report and see what they had to say about ERCOT, the Texas region. Well I did, and land sakes, OH MY DOG, so should you!!!

NERC 2006 Long Term Reliability Assessment

The juicy bit, from p. 15:

However, approximately 7,000 MW of existing mothballed generating capacity is not included as vailable capacity that could potentially be brought back into service in a short time frame.

Did y’all know that five or so years ago they shut down more than a dozen gas-fired plants? NERC reports that now, there are 7,500MW mothballed in ERCOT! And we know NERC is very conservative. AEP shut down a bunch, it’s hard to get a handle on it , one articles says they shut down 1,628 and are looking at another 2,253MW. CenterPoint shut down 3,400MW. TXU shut down 3,612 at least. In 2006, a PSC Commissioner reported that 11,500MW (link GONE, grrrr) was mothballed:

11,500 MW of inefficient, high-heat-rate units retired or mothballed. 1,100 MW of mothballed units have been returned to service for summer 2006.

Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of gas plants sitting around, and I’ll bet Mr. Gas Turbine World has a bunch of turbines to get those plants humming.

Can someone explain to me why anyone would recommend all these new $2 billion coal plants when there’s all this wind already in Texas that could be built around these mothballed plants and use them for back up to the wind? Just LOOK at all the wind:


Or better yet, think about all the open spaces, no trees, and cover it with PV or concentrated solar:


Coal? Whatever are they thinking? Tens of thousands of megawatts of coal?

Next — well, it could take a while, but I want to see a map of where those mothballed plants are compared to the new coal plants and considering “need” if they even bother to claim need. Something tells me we’re being hoodwinked.

2 Responses to “At least 11,500MW mothballed in Texas”

  1. Harry Jaeger Says:


    You didn’t mention anything about how tey can unmothball those units and repower them with high efficiency gas turbines fueled by syngas and turn them into IGCC plants.

    Now there’s an idea worth throwing up into the wind.

    Harry Jaeger

  2. Carol A. Overland Says:

    Copy on the “throwing up!” Now why not just put a lot of money into your shiny new turbines while refurbishing and run on gas, just a titch, now and then, eh? Isn’t the whole point to sell turbines and create a market? Doesn’t that do it???? And don’t I get a big fat commission???

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