(Bloomberg) -- Texas utility CPS Energy is rebuffing the state grid operator’s plea to restart a decommissioned coal-fired plant to reduce the threat of another winter power crisis.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a notice Oct. 2 requesting as much as 3,000 megawatts of additional capacity — enough to power 600,000 homes during periods of peak demand — for the coming months. Ercot listed several retired or mothballed plants, including CPS’s J.T. Deely facility, that could be brought back online to help fill the need.
But CPS Energy Chief Executive Officer Rudy Garza said it’s impossible for the utility, which is owned by the city of San Antonio, to revive the plant before winter cold descends. Deely represented 40% of the 2,100 megawatts of capacity that would be eligible for a special contract this winter if it could come back online, Ercot said in its notice.
“The capacity that we have online right now is the capacity we have to give,” Garza said in an interview on the sidelines of the Gulf Coast Power Association conference in Austin on Wednesday. “Deely will not be coming back in operation as a coal unit. It’s been five years since we’ve run it. There’s no way we can bring it back in four months.”
Texas regulators and lawmakers have rushed to find ways to shore up the state’s power system after the grid collapsed during a series of winter storms in 2021, killing hundreds as homes and businesses were left without electricity for days. Ercot’s push to solicit seasonal capacity is unprecedented in a region that has long relied on market forces to procure supplies and spare reserves.
Supplies that are eligible for special contracts under Ercot’s request include plants that have been or are about to be mothballed, new gas plant projects that may be accelerated and programs that pay big power users to curtail their usage during emergency conditions.
Read more: Why the Texas Power Grid Is Still Fraught With Risk: QuickTake
As for Deely, the plant hasn’t been torn down because it hasn’t been a budget priority, Garza said. The site is still valuable, especially because it has water and could be used to build new power plants or even some solar, he said.
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