Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

LCRA Responds to Austin Mayor’s Coal-Free Pledge

Photo by KUT News

The Fayette Coal Power Plant in La Grange

Earlier today StateImpact Texas reported on Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell’s new pledge to make Austin a coal-free city. To do so, the city would stop getting energy from the coal-powered Fayettte plant in La Grange.

This afternoon the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), which is a part-owner and operator of the plant, responded to the mayor’s vow to get Austin’s power from only non-coal sources.

The LCRA says that they are “proud” of the plant and that it is operated in an “environmentally responsible way.” They say they have “no plans to close [the plant] and will not support any plan to shut down the plant.”

The LCRA also touts the installation of scrubbers on the plant earlier this year, at a cost of $400 million. They claim the scrubbers cut emissions of sulfur dioxide by almost 95 percent and acid gases by 99 percent.

According to EPA reports, the plant has had no compliance issues or emissions violations during the last five years. And it cut emissions of chemicals in half from 2001 to 2009. But it does have a health risk screening of 4 (5 being the worst) from the EPA.

“We intend to continue operating the plant as long as it provides value to our customers,” LCRA said in the statement.

But If the city of Austin decides to no longer receive power from the plant, what would happen to it? Would the LCRA have to sell it? Would they keep it operating and sell the power to other customers? StateImpact Texas has asked LCRA for more information.


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