Energy and Natural Resources

Luminant to Close 1,800 MW Coal-fired Power Plant

06 October 2017

Texas-based utility Luminant says it plans to retire its three-unit, coal-fired Monticello Power Plant. In total, around 1,800 megawatts of generating capacity will be taken offline in January of 2018.

Curt Morgan, Vistra Energy's president and chief executive officer, said that "unprecedented" low power prices have "profoundly impacted" the plant's operating revenues and no longer support continued investment.

The power plant is located in the northeast corner of Texas and burns low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin. It burned lignite from nearby mines until 2016. Reclamation efforts at those mines will continue after the plant's closure, the company says. Monticello Unit 1 entered service in 1974, Unit 2 in 1975 and Unit 3 in 1978.

In August, Vistra Energy, Luminant's parent company, completed its acquisition of the 1,054-megawatt gas-fired combined cycle, combustion turbine power plant in Odessa, Texas from a unit of Koch Ag & Energy Solutions, LLC.

Around 200 employees will be impacted. Eligible and affected employees will be offered severance benefits and outplacement assistance.

As part of the retirement process, Luminant filed a notice with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which will trigger a reliability review. If ERCOT determines the units are not needed for reliability following the 60-day review, Luminant expects to stop plant operations on Jan. 4, 2018.

Vistra estimates it will record one-time charges of approximately $20-25 million in the third quarter of 2017 related to the retirement, including employee-related severance costs and non-cash charges for materials inventory and the acceleration of Luminant's mining reclamation obligations.

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