Sandow Unit 5

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

Sandow 5 is a 581 MW power plant in Milam County, Texas, that uses circulating fluidized bed technology and burns Texas lignite coal. It is owned by Luminant (formerly TXU).[1] Sandow 5 is the fifth coal-fired plant at the Sandow Station. Luminant operates two units at this station and the remaining three units are operated by Alcoa; Luminant bought rights to build Sandow 5 (and the accompanying permit) from Alcoa in 2005. In August 2006, TXU and Alcoa went to court to loosen the terms of the 2003 consent decree, but were rebuked by U.S District Judge Sam Sparks.

Construction was permitted in March 2007, when the U.S. District Court approved a stipulated resolution of the consent decree for the plant. This followed a lengthy litigation of TXU’s proposed 11 plants by a coalition of environmental groups.[2]

In July 2009, Luminant announced that the Sandow 5 unit would not go into full operation before September. Although the unit was synchronized to the grid and producing power in early July, construction delays and equipment issues prevented it from meeting a deadline for operation and emissions standards. The company expects the delay to take two or three months.[3]

Sandow Unit 5 began operating in late September 2009.[4]

Project Details

Sponsor: Luminant (formerly TXU)
Location: Rockdale, Milam County, TX
Capacity: 581 MW
Type: Circulating fluidized bed
Projected in service: 2009
Status: Operating


Citizen Groups


A 2011 Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies report, "A Fraction of the Jobs" found that coal-fired power plants underestimate jobs by more than half. The analysis looked at the six largest new coal-fired power plants to come online between 2005 and 2009, including Sandow, and combed through each project’s initial proposals and job projection data, including public statements, published documents and other material. They then compared hat data to actual employment — before, during and after construction — in the areas where the projects were built, relying chiefly on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.[5]

They found that only a little over half - or 56 percent - of every 1,000 jobs projected, appeared to be actually created as a result of the coal plants’ coming online. In four of the six counties, the projects delivered on just over a quarter of the jobs projected. Only one county, the Walter Scott unit number 4 project in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, saw an increase in construction employment that was roughly commensurate with the numbers predicted before the project there got under way.[5]

Construction Employment Change in Counties with New Coal Plants

Plant County Total Projected Employment Actual County Construction Employment Change (Peak) Actual Change as % of Projection
Sandow Unit 5 Milam 1,370 463 33.7%
Nebraska City Station Unit 2 Otoe N/A -73 N/A
Weston Unit 4 Marathon 1,200 429 35.7%
Council Bluffs Energy Center Unit 4 Pottawattamie 1,000 2,407 240.7%
Cross 3 & 4 Berkeley 1,400 509 36.3%
Oak Grove Units 1 & 2 Robertson 2,400 329 13.7%



  1. Emissions from Recently Permitted and Proposed Coal Burning Power Plants, Stop the Coal Plant website, August 7, 2007.
  2. Texas Coal Key to TXU's Pursuit of Two Plants - CEO, Reuters, March 1, 2007.
  3. "Luminant delays Texas Sandow 5 coal unit start-up," Reuters, July 20, 2009.
  4. Eileen O'Grady, "Luminant's Texas coal unit starts without fanfare," Reuters, October 19, 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Tom Zeller, "Coal, Jobs and America’s Energy Future" NY Times, March 31, 2011.

Related SourceWatch Articles

External links