June 20, 2011
Eva Hernandez, Sierra Club, 512-299-1550, or
Ryan Rittenhouse, Public Citizen, 440-796-9695
Sierra Club and Partners Celebrate First Announced Closing of a Publicly-owned Coal Plant in Texas
San Antonio's Deely Plant Expected to Close by 2018, Replaced by Clean, Solar Power
San Antonio -- Monday afternoon, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro announced that City Public Service’s (CPS) Deely coal-fired power plant will shut down by 2018. Additional solar power contracts for the San Antonio area will replace that dirty electricity and bring clean energy jobs to Texas. The planned retirement of the two coal boilers at Deely marks the 189th and 190th generators that have announced plans for retirement since January 2010.
In response to today's announcement, the Sierra Club, SEED Coalition, and Public Citizen issued the following statement:
The announcement today confirms the new direction taken by CPS Energy which has committed to meeting 20% of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2020, and reducing its peak demand through energy efficiency by 780 megawatts. CPS Energy recently began receiving power from a 14 MW solar plant in South San Antonio, and has signed a contract with SunEdison for an additional 30 MWs of solar power.
Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign stated that, "Today's announcement in Texas shows that cities around the country are taking strides to move beyond coal. Mayors and concerned citizens in many states have taken it upon themselves to prove that solar and other forms of clean energy are ready to replace dirty and dangerous sources of power to meet our energy needs."
"San Antonio’s decision to phase out the Deely coal plant signals the beginning of the end of the coal-burning era and its associated air pollution and illness in Texas,” said Eva Hernandez, with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “We are ready for Austin to follow suit and for other municipal utilities, the electric co-ops, retail electric utilities, and indeed the State of Texas to move forward with a clean energy economy. This is how we will create more jobs while breathing cleaner air in Texas.”
However, environmental groups do not support the west Texas Summit coal plant that could be part of San Antonio’s plan.
“Any purchase of coal power from the Summit coal plant should be conditional upon phasing out Deely,” said Ryan Rittenhouse of Public Citizen. “Furthermore, CPS should commit to running Deely's two dirty coal boilers as little as possible leading up to the phase out.”
The CPS Deely plant is the first publicly-owned coal plant slated for retirement in Texas.
The Sierra Club has called for the phase-out of the Lower Colorado River Authority's Fayette coal plant, which is partially-owned by the City of Austin. The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign has also called for the phase-out of several privately owned coal plants: TXU-Luminant’s Big Brown coal plant in Fairfield, the Martin Lake coal plant near Henderson, and the Monticello coal plant near Mount Pleasant. Several recently permitted coal plants in Texas have been prevented from starting, and three, White Stallion, Las Brisas, and Tenaska face additional obstacles.
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