Gets Power, Texas Keeps Pollution
Texas and neighboring states like
Oklahoma continue to suffer serious effects from existing
coal plants, many of which are older, outdated, and
lack pollution controls. Texas leads the nation
in soot and smog pollution, and Texas coal plants send
their pollution across state borders, damaging the
public health and economies of Oklahoma, Arkansas,
For Immediate Release: February 9, 2012
Jenna Garland, (404) 281-6398
Jen Powis, 832.453.4404
AEP’s Request to Sell Electricity to Mexico
Calls Reliability Claims Into Question;
Coal Plants' Pollution and Power a Regional Concern
Austin, TX - Sierra Club has asked to intervene in American
Electric Power’s application to the United States Department of Energy to renew authorization to sell electricity generated at the Oklaunion Coal Plant near Vernon, Texas, along with some wind energy, to Mexico. American Electric Power’s wholly-owned subsidiary, AEP Energy Partners, Inc., has requested to sell power to Mexico for a period of ten years. The application raises serious questions about the environmental impacts of the proposed export, along with the impacts on the reliability of the Texas electric system.
“The leadership of ERCOT, Luminant Corporation, and
Texas officials have all claimed life-saving pollution rules
may cause reliability concerns,” said Jen Powis, Campaign Representative with Sierra Club. “So how can we reconcile these claims with AEP Energy Partner’s application to sell Texas power and ERCOT’s tacit agreement that Texas doesn’t
AEP Energy Partners originally entered into an agreement to sell power to Mexico in 2007, which was authorized by the Department of Energy. That authorization expires February 22, 2012. Last summer, ERCOT experienced multiple emergency days when over 5,000 MW of existing capacity were for one reason or another, pulled off-line during some of Texas’s hottest days[i]. It is unknown whether the power from the Oklaunion power plant was available during that time, or being exported. However, in July 2010, AEP shipped about 15,000 MWH of power to Mexico in a thirty-day period.
"At the same time that AEP is seeking to continue
exporting energy to Mexico, the House Committee on State
Affairs is examining resource adequacy in the Texas electricity
market in a hearing today, due to concerns about sufficient
electricity generation in general, and in particular due
to the overblown claims of impacts of new environmental
standards. Perhaps the Committee needs to examine AEP's
export practices if it truly wants to get to the bottom
of potential adequacy shortages," Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director for the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Oklaunion is a 720 MW coal-fired power plant. In 2010, Oklaunion generated 3,486 tons of sulfur dioxide, 6,495 tons of nitrous oxides, almost 4 million tons of carbon dioxide, and 140 tons of mercury. [ii] AEP-EP is a wholesale power provider operating within Texas’s grid, known as ERCOT.
Texas and neighboring states like Oklahoma continue to be impacted by serious pollution levels coming from existing coal plants, many of which are older, outdated, and lack pollution controls. Texas leads the nation in soot and smog pollution, and Texas coal plants send their pollution across state borders, impacting the public health and economies of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.