Texas Hill Country News

Monticello Coal Plant in Northeastern Texas to Close in 2018

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Texas will have one fewer coal plants as of January 2018, according to a press release from the Sierra Club. The Monticello coal plant, owned by Luminant energy company, will close at the beginning of next year. Several factors contributed to the plant’s closing, and the company already has plans for the employees affected. This closure also marks another shuttered coal plant in the United States, and the next step toward cleaner air.

About Monticello Coal Plant

Luminant owns Monticello coal plant which will retire at the end of January 2018

Photo: Factbook/Luminant Power

The Monticello coal plant is located in Mt. Pleasant, which is about halfway between Dallas and Texarkana along I-30. It generates enough electricity for up to 940,000 homes in Texas using coal from the Powder River Basin. Since 1974, the first unit of this coal plant has been working to provide power to northeast Texas homes. In 1975 and in 1978, units 2 and 3 came online for greater power output.

Factors Affecting the Closing

Power Lines

Photo: Pixabay/5528859

The decision to close Monticello coal plant resulted from many factors, depending on whom you ask. Luminant blames the low electricity prices, which makes it harder to turn a profit while operating a coal plant. The Sierra Club takes responsibility for the closure through its legal advocacy, which led to a lawsuit against the plant for violating the Clean Air Act. Perhaps a combination of the two resulted in the decision to close the plant. It’s not a surprising turn as this retirement of Monticello coal plant marks the 259th such facility to cease production since 2010.

Impact of the Coal Plant’s Closure

Monticello Coal Plant

Photo: Facebook/Luminant Power

According to Luminant, 200 employees of Monticello could receive severance packages or get assistance with finding other jobs with the company. On the bright side, the closure of the plant could lead to healthier air. According to the Sierra Club’s report of public health analyses, Monticello coal plant was one of the dirtiest in the country. Pollution from the plant has been linked to 23,500 restricted or lost work days, 5,800 asthma attacks, and 156 early deaths. Hopefully, by closing the plant, these hazards may be averted.

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