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
Monday afternoon, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is expected to announce 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. In advance of today’s expected announcement, the Sierra Club, SEED Coalition, and Public Citizen issued the following statement.
“Sierra Club and our partners extend our appreciation to Mayor Julian Castro and City Public Service CEO Doyle Beneby for their vision and leadership,” said Loretta Van Coppenolle with the Alamo Group of the Sierra Club. “The people of San Antonio will reap the benefits of their decision to create a future with cleaner air and healthier lives. Closing Deely coal plant and transitioning to a clean energy economy will be a tremendous benefit for San Antonio. ”
The announcements today confirm 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.
“The new leadership at CPS Energy, the Mayor and the residents of San Antonio deserve credit for rejecting the initial love affair with the proposed nuclear plant, and instead embracing an alternative vision — more wind and solar power, a significant investment in energy efficiency, cutting-edge building codes, and the retirement of Deely. We hope they can phase out Deely even before 2018,” said Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director with the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Loretta Van Coppenolle played a powerful leadership role over many years of negotiations and considers that the deal might not have been struck with out the support and participation of the Alamo Sierra Club.”
Charles English and the Jefferson Heights Association of neighbors living near the coal plant, Cindy Wheeler and the activists of Energia Mia, Karen Hadden with the SEED Coalition (Sustainable Energy for Economic Development), and Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith with Public Citizen also played instrumental roles with Van Coppenolle and the Alamo Sierra Club, Reed, and Neil Carman, .
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 proposed Summit coal plant should be conditional upon phasing out Deely,” said Ryan Rittenhouse. “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 publically-owned coal plant slated for retirement in Texas.
Sierra Club has called for phasing out 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.
“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 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 our clean energy economy. This is the way we will create more jobs while breathing cleaner air in Texas.”
Contact: Eva Hernandez, 512-299-1550
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Posted by Donna Hoffman