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Monticello Power Plant in Northeast Texas to Close by Early January of 2018

Dallas-based Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy, announced Friday that it is permanently closing one of the Lone Star State’s largest coal-powered plants early next year, according to a company press release.

The 1,800 megawatt Monticello power plant located in Titus County, Texas is the latest casualty in coal plant closures across the nation as the industry cannot keep up with the widespread technological advancements in wind and solar energy.

“For more than 40 years, Monticello employees have generated reliable power for Texans, and we honor and recognize their service,” said Curt Morgan, Vistra Energy’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The market’s unprecedented low power price environment has profoundly impacted its operating revenues and no longer supports continued investment. “This was a difficult decision made after a year of careful analysis.”

On Friday, Luminant filed a notice with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which triggers a reliability review. If ERCOT determines the units are not needed for reliability following the 60-day review, the Monticello plant will cease operations in January of 2018. The closure is expected to impact nearly 200 employees at the facility.

Luminant is responsible for decommissioning the facility in accordance with all federal and state regulations.

The news came on the heels that former Texas governor and current U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry issued a formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to FERC requesting immediate action to address threats to the resiliency of the nation’s electrical grid by adjusting regulations governing wholesale power markets to stop further closure of coal and nuclear power plants deemed critical to maintaining a reliable electrical grid. Despite Perry’s last ditch effort, a favorable decision by FERC would not impact the Monticello closure since the plant operates within the ERCOT grid, which is exempt from FERC’s jurisdiction since it does not cross state lines.

It appears there inside the Trump Administration, there is more common ground than Red River rivalry between the former Texas governor and former Oklahoma attorney general. Both Secretary Perry and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt appear to be operating in tandem to resuscitate a depressed coal industry.