Oak Grove Plant

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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.

Luminant (formerly TXU) proposed a 1720 MW supercritical, lignite-coal-burning plant (technically, two plants) in Franklin, TX.[1][2] Engineering and construction have been contracted to Fluor. In Feb. 2007, two private equity firms bought out TXU and promised to drop eight of eleven proposed coal plants in Texas;[3] the Oak Grove plant is one of three coal plants still being pursued by the company.

In Aug. 2006, state administrative judges recommended denial of Oak Grove's permit based on doubts about the adequacy of pollution controls,[4] but the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (whose three-member decision-making body was appointed solely by Gov. Perry, a long-time TXU campaign-cash beneficiary) approved the plants on June 13, 2007.[5] Fluor was awarded notice to proceed with construction on June 21.[6]

On July 21, 2008, the Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled to uphold the District Court's decision denying CleanCOALition and Robertson County: Our Lands, Our Lives' air permit challenge. The environmental groups argued that the permit violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) because it failed to adequately include a Best Available Control Technology (BACT) analysis. The final air permit for the plant is now being appealed.[7]

As of October 2009, Oak Grove unit 1 was scheduled for completion by the end of the year, and unit 2 was expected to be complete in mid-2010.[8]

On December 28, 2009, Luminant announced that it had put the first of the two new units online.[9] As of June, 2010, both units were operational.[10]

Project Details

Sponsor: Luminant (formerly TXU)
Location: Franklin, TX
Capacity: 1720 MW
Type: Supercritical
Projected in service: 2010
Status: Operating

Financing

Citizen Groups

Employment

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 Oak Grove Plant, 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.[11]

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.[11]

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%

Resources

References

  1. Emissions from Recently Permitted and Proposed Coal Burning Power Plants, Stop the Coal Plant website, August 7, 2007.
  2. Proposed Coal Plant Finds Favor, Criticism, Bryan-College Station Eagle, December 26, 2005.
  3. A Buyout Deal That Has Many Shades of Green, New York Times, February 26, 2007.
  4. TXU's Oak Grove Plant Hits Stump in Permitting Process, Waco Tribune-Herald, August 24, 2006.
  5. Power Plant Pollution Battle Still On, Austin Chronicle, June 15, 2007.
  6. Fluor Awarded Full Notice to Proceed for TXU's Oak Grove Project, Fluor Corporation press release, June 21, 2007.
  7. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed January 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  8. "Coal plant construction continues in earnest at some sites," SNL Interactive, October 5, 2009. (Subscription required.)
  9. "Work Finished On New Coal-Fired Central Texas Power Plant Unit," KWTX, December 28, 2009.
  10. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed January 2011. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Tom Zeller, "Coal, Jobs and America’s Energy Future" NY Times, March 31, 2011.

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