Fayette Power Project
Fayette Power Project is a 1,690.0-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority near La Grange, Texas.
- Parent Company: Lower Colorado River Authority
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,690.0 MW (Megawatts)
- Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 615.0 MW (1979), Unit 2: 615.0 MW (1980), Unit 3: 460.0 MW (1988)
- Location: 6549 Power Plant Rd., La Grange, TX 78945
- GPS Coordinates: 29.916594, -96.751666
- Technology: Supercritical
- Coal Type: Sub Bituminous
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source: Buckskin Mine (Kiewit), Eagle Butte Mine (Bluegrass Commodities), Rawhide Mine (Peabody Coal), Cordero Rojo Mine (Navajo)
- Number of Employees:
- Unit Retirements:
Austin Energy committed to retiring its share of the capacity of Unit 1 and 2 before the end of 2022 in agreement with the Sierra Club. No confirmation of retirement can be found in the EIA database.
- 2006 CO2 Emissions: 12,000,000 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions: 27,597 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
- 2006 NOx Emissions:
- 2005 Mercury Emissions:
The Sierra Club and Public Citizen believe the Fayette Power Project ought to stop its coal-burning by 2020. In November of 2009 the nine-member Austin Generation Resource Planning Task Force voted to improve Austin Energy’s proposed Generation Plan for 2020. In addition, five out of the nine members of the Task Force – including representatives from Sierra Club and Public Citizen – endorsed the Plan itself but recommended that Austin Energy set a target of ending Austin’s coal addiction by 2020. Austin Energy generates a portion of its power from the coal-fired plant.
“Public Citizen and Sierra Club agree that we can and must get out of the coal plant by 2020, and with this recommendation, the Austin Generation Resource Planning Task Force has set up a process to do that,” said Public Citizen’s Matthew Johnson.
The groups hope to move forward with pubic support to shut the plant down prior to 2020.
Groups plan to sue coal plant touted as green success
In mid-July 2010, three environmental groups, the Environmental Integrity Project, the Texas Campaign for the Environment, and Environment Texas, announced that they were intending to file suit over over 10,000 alleged violations of federal air regulations. Lower Colorado River Authority, a publicly owned utility that runs the 1,641-megawatt Fayette Power Project near La Grange, Texas.
"In Texas, air pollution permits are flexible alright -- flexible enough to allow coal-fired power plants like the Fayette plant to avoid tougher federal emission limits, violate the weaker substitute standards offered by the Texas regulators, and short-change Texas taxpayers by failing to pay fees that are supposed to be used to improve air quality," said Ilan Levin, a senior attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project, in a statement about the suit.
Farmers, pecan growers say coal plant kills plants
In December 2010, plant experts, scientists, environmentalists and ranchers stated that they believe sulfur dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants is slowly killing vegetation across Texas, in particular pollution from the Fayette Power Project.
Sulfur dioxide has been known to kill vegetation in other parts of the country. In Texas, the deaths of pecan trees, oaks, elms and willows have been documented.
In Central Texas, not far from the Fayette plant, pecan growers claimed thousands of trees have died and nut production has steadily decreased since the plant began operating in 1979. After consulting science experts, the growers contended that sulfur dioxide emissions from the plant were the cause.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing the data and is expected to respond in early 2011 on their findings.
Suit filed over Fayette coal plant
On March 7, 2010 three environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit against the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Fayette Power Project. The groups, which included Environmental Integrity Project, Austin-based Environment Texas and Texas Campaign for the Environment, claimed the Fayette Power Project violated the federal Clean Air Act thousands of times. The plaintiffs alleged the company increased capacity and as a result, levels of dangerous particle pollution, which has been linked to asthma and heart and lung disease.
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Fayette Power Project
In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants. Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.
Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Fayette Power Project
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||42||$16,000|
Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011
Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination
In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Texas, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that was not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites. The report mentioned Texas's Fayette Power Project as one site that has groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.
Articles and Resources
- "A diverse generation fleet" lcra.org, accessed July 10, 2020
- "Power Plants" Austinenergy.com, accessed July 10, 2020
- "EIA 923 March 2020" EIA 923 March 2020.
- "It’s Official. Austin City Council Approves New Austin Energy Rates" Sierraclub.org, accessed July 10, 2020
- "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory" eia.gov, 860m March 2020
- "Austin Energy Task Force Approves Consensus Recommendations on Electric Power Generation" Lone Star Sierra Club Chapter, accessed April 11, 2010.
- "Enviro Groups to Sue Coal Plant Touted by Texas as Permitting Success" Gabriel Nelson, July 15, 2010, New York Times.
- "Farmers, pecan growers say coal plant kills plants" Ramit Plushnick-Matsi, Business Week, December 28, 2010.
- "Suit filed over coal-fired plant SE of Austin" Houston Business Journal, March 7, 2011.
- "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
- "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
- "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
- "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.
- Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed Jan. 2009.
- Environmental Integrity Project, "Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants", July 2007.
- Facility Registry System, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accessed Jan. 2009.
Related SourceWatch Articles
- Existing U.S. Coal Plants
- Texas and coal
- Lower Colorado River Authority
- United States and coal
- Global warming