Texas Coal Plant Goes Under As Eco Regulations Increase

(FreedomBeacon.com)- Residents of the area are upset about a plan to abruptly end operations at a coal-fired power plant in eastern Texas early next year because they worry about dire economic repercussions.

AEP’s subsidiary in Ohio, Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), said in 2020 that it would shut down the H.W. Pirkey Power Plant, a massive 721-megawatt coal plant near Hallsville, Texas, in March 2023. The decision to shut down the plant was made, according to SWEPCO, “following an economic study weighing the cost of environmental compliance and essential maintenance,” the company told FOX Business.

The business, which serves almost 550,000 consumers in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana and runs 11 power plants, including Pirkey, also stated that it eventually took customer expenses into account when making its choice.

The impact on customer rates for the price of completing this work was one of the elements taken into account.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) coal combustion residuals (CCR) rule, intended to safeguard the environment from excessive coal ash contamination, is one of the numerous state and federal laws that coal-fired power plants must comply. The Pirkey facility’s planned shutdown was mainly motivated by the price of complying with the CCR rule.

The decision to close the Pirkey Power Plant in Hallsville, Texas, has impacted the surrounding community. The closure is expected to result in a loss of $22 million in regional sales and economic output. Numerous jobs at the nearby schools could be lost due to the decreased revenue.

Hundreds of employees at the plant will receive severance pay, access to educational and retraining opportunities, and other potential job opportunities from SWEPCO.

The closure will also immediately affect those employed at the nearby Sabine Mine.

A third employee claimed that any proposal to switch from coal to renewable energy would result in higher costs for consumers and worse system stability.

Brent Bennett, an energy expert at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, claims that green energy initiatives may have influenced the decision to close the Pirkey Power Plant. The company’s owner has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045 and an 80% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030.