Another Texas coal plant to retire
CPS Energy's J.K. Spruce plant is one of the biggest global warming polluters in Texas
The board of directors of San Antonio’s municipally owned utility CPS Energy voted 4-1 this week for a plan to retire the J.K. Spruce 1 power plant by 2028, while the second unit of the plant will be converted to run on methane gas. The move comes after years of advocacy by environmentalists who demanded the city get off of coal power. The Spruce plant is the sixth biggest emitter of global warming pollution among all Texas industrial facilities, releasing almost eight million tons of carbon dioxide in 2021 – a 38% increase over 2020.
Poor economics for coal-fueled by the low cost of renewables and natural gas in the last decade – led to the retirement of six coal-burning power plants totaling 6400 megawatts in Texas between 2018 and 2020 and another six coal units, including Spruce, will either retire or switch to gas by 2028. As a result, emissions from the electricity sector dropped 17.3% from 2005 to 2019.
Closing Spruce 1 is a clear win for the environment. Converting Spruce 2 to methane gas is less so. With high rates of methane leaks, flaring and venting, especially in Texas, gas may only have small or no climate benefits relative to coal. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, it’s critical that we rapidly get off of all fossil fuels.
Fortunately, renewables and storage are booming and great progress is being made towards developing long duration storage. We’ll keep pushing CPS Energy to commit to 100% renewable energy.