From Global Energy Monitor
Headquarters500 North Akard
Dallas, TX 75201
Area servedTX
Key peopleDavid Campbell, CEO
IndustryElectric Producer & Distributor
Parent company revenues:
$6.51 billion (2007)[1]
Net incomeN/A
Parent company income:
$35 million (2007)[1]
ParentEnergy Future Holdings Corp.
DivisionsLuminant Power
Luminant Energy
Luminant Mining
Luminant Construction
Luminant Development

Luminant, formerly TXU Corp., is a Dallas-based energy company involved in electricity generation, distribution, and sales in Texas. In February 2007, TXU announced its acquisition by an investor group led by private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Texas Pacific Group (registered under TPG Capital LP).[2] In July 2007, TXU announced that its power generation and related businesses would now be assigned to the Luminant name. Both TXU and Luminant are now owned by Energy Future Holdings.[3]

Energy Future Holdings (now Vistra) is owned by a group of investors led by KKR and TPG, as well as global investment bank Goldman Sachs.[4]

After the bankruptcy of Energy Future Holdings, TCEH Corporation emerged as a tax-free spinoff. TCEH was then rebranded as Vistra Energy.[5]

In April 9, 2018, Vistra completed its merger with Dynegy, Inc.[6]

Cancellation of 8 of 11 proposed plants

As part of the estimated US$45 million buyout, Luminant settled a series of lawsuits with Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council and agreed to cancel 8 of its planned 11 new Texas coal-fired power plants as well as several new coal-fired plants in Pennsylvania and Virginia, back federal legislation to create a cap-and-trade system regulating CO2 emissions, and double spending on energy efficiency. In return, Environmental Defense and NRDC agreed not to campaign against TXU’s remaining three Texas coal-fired plants.[7] In March 2007, TXU announced its official withdrawal of the air permit applications for the eight cancelled plants.[8]

Role of Gov. Rick Perry

In 2006, Texas Gov. Rick Perry fast-tracked the permitting process for 11 new col plants for TXU, the state's largest utility, shrinking a process that usually takes one to four years down to six months. The new plants were resisted by local residents and Perry's executive order was later challenged in court and deemed unconstitutional by a Travis County judge. Only three of TXU's new coal plants were built, but Perry stood by the utility through the 16-month battle.

Between January 2001 and July 2011, TXU (now known as Energy Future Holdings), gave Perry $633,575—more than any other politician. Former TXU chairman Erle Nye, whom Perry appointed to Texas A&M's Board of Regents in 2003, gave the governor $2,000 on the day he signed the coal-plant executive order, and another $25,000 six months later. TXU's PAC also gave Perry $5,000 shortly after he signed the order.[9]

Power portfolio

Out of its total 19,356 MW of electric generating capacity in 2005 (1.81% of the U.S. total), Luminant produced 55.6% from natural gas, 32.5% from coal, 12.6% from nuclear, and 0.1% from oil. All of Luminant's power plants are in Texas.[10]

Existing coal-fired power plants

Luminant owned 11 coal-fired generating stations in 2011,as shown below:[10][11][12]

Plant Name State County Year(s) Built Capacity Status
Martin Lake TX Rusk 1977, 1978, 1979 2,380 MW Operating
Oak Grove TX Franklin 2010 1,720 MW Operating
Monticello TX Titus 1974, 1975, 1978 1,980 MW Retired in 2018
Big Brown TX Freestone 1971, 1972 1,187 MW Retired in 2018
Sandow TX Milam 1981, 2009 1,172 MW Retired in 2018

In 2006, Luminant's 4 coal-fired power plants emitted 51.2 million tons of CO2 (0.85% of all U.S. CO2 emissions) and 275,000 tons of SO2 (1.83% of all U.S. SO2 emissions).

It was announced on September 12, 2011 that Texas based coal plant Monticello Units 1 and 2 would be idled in January 2012 if Energy Future Holdings, owner of Luminant, failed in its legal challenge to pending federal air pollution rules. It was also reported that the company would close both its Thermo Mine and Winfield South Mine at the same time.[13] The company stated it would switch its coal source to Powder River Basin coal.[14]

Luminant's Martin Lake and Big Brown Plants are Nation's Worst for Mercury Emissions

Most Power Plants Still Spewing Toxic Mercury

In March 2010 the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) released a report using available EPA data that indicated half of the country's 50 largest mercury-emitting power plants have increased their emissions in recent years. The report also noted that half of the coal plants in the United States do not have the most up to date emission controls in place, and five of the plants with the highest amount of mercury emitted are located in Texas.

Coal-fired power plants generate more than 40 percent of U.S. emissions. Mercury released into the air settles in rivers and lakes, where it moves through the food chain to the fish that people eat. The report states that Luminant's Martin Lake Steam Station in Texas is the nation's worst mercury polluter. The plant reported a 4.56 percent increase from 2007 to 2008.[15]

The 2011 Environmental Defense Fund report, "Mercury Alert: Cleaning up Coal Plants for Healthier Lives" found that 25 plants alone are responsible for nearly a third of all mercury emissions in the power sector, while providing only eight percent of U.S. electricity. The findings are based on 2009 U.S. Department of Energy data. The plant with the highest mercury emissions was Martin Lake Steam Station, releasing 1,566 lbs in 2009.[16] The plant with the second highest mercury emissions was Luminant's Big Brown Steam Electric Station, releasing 1,362 lbs in 2009.[17]

The plant with the sixth highest mercury emissions was Luminant's Monticello Steam Station, releasing 1,063 lbs in 2009.[18]

Citizen Action

Sierra Club calls for closure of three coal plants in Texas

On March 18, 2011 the Sierra Club released a report stating that three of Luminant's coal plants in East Texas should be shut down because the facilities do not meet Clean Air Act standards and need $3.6 billion in upgrades in order to comply with federal regulations.

The three plants targeted were Big Brown, Monticello Steam Station and the Martin Lake Steam Station plant. The Sierra Club expressed concern about "the major threats to air and water pollution that citizens in the Barnett Shale [in North Texas] are dealing with firsthand."[19][20]

The study recommended:

"[R]eplacement of three coal fired power plants built in the 1970’s (Big Brown, Monticello and Martin Lake) is a financial and environmental necessity. The plants, currently owned by Energy Future Holding/Luminant and serving North Texas are financially mismanaged, cannot compete profitably in the current market, require pollution control upgrades that are unaffordable and have suffered deep losses in market value. The financial outlook for the company and the plants going forward show very little upside. A broad look at the national and Texas energy market suggest planning tools and resources exist to ensure a smooth transition to a more financially stable and reliable supply of electricity."

Coal projects sponsored by Luminant




Existing Coal Mines

Contact details

1601 Bryan Street
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: 214-812-4600

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Second Amended and Restated Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2007, Texas Combined Energy Holdings Co., 2007, p. 26.
  2. "TXU to Set New Direction As Private Company", press release, February 26, 2007.
  3. "Luminant Name Adopted for TXU Corp.’s Power Generation and Related Businesses", press release, July 10, 2007.
  4. "Energy Future Holdings Corp.: Our Owners" Energy Future Holdings Corp., accessed July 2010.
  5. Cheryl Kaften, "Parent of TXU Energy and Luminant Announces Corporate Rebranding as Vistra Energy," Energy Manager Today, November 8, 2016
  6. "History," Vistra Energy, accessed October 2018
  7. A Buyout Deal That Has Many Shades of Green, New York Times, February 26, 2007.
  8. "TXU Halts Efforts To Obtain Permits for Eight Coal-Fueled Units", press release, March 1, 2007.
  9. Andy Kroll, "Rick Perry's Dirty Deals With Big Coal" Mother Jones, Sep. 21, 2011.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed April 2008.
  11. Environmental Integrity Project, Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, July 2007.
  12. Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed June 2008.
  13. "Energy Future Holdings threatens plant closures" Dallas Business Journal, September 12, 2011.
  14. "Texas Utility to Idle Boilers, Coal Mines in Response to New EPA Rule" Gabriel Nelson, New York Times, September 12, 2001.
  15. "EIP Report: Electric Power Industry "Not Making A Dent" in Dangerous Mercury Pollution, Which Rose at Over Half of the Nation's 50 Dirtiest Power Plants" Environmental Integrity Project, March 17, 2010.
  16. "Mercury Alert: Cleaning up Coal Plants for Healthier Lives" Environmental Defense Fund report, March 2011.
  17. "Mercury Alert: Cleaning up Coal Plants for Healthier Lives" Environmental Defense Fund report, March 2011.
  18. "Mercury Alert: Cleaning up Coal Plants for Healthier Lives" Environmental Defense Fund report, March 2011.
  19. "Sierra Club calls for closure of three Luminant coal plants in Texas" Jack Z. Smith, Star-Telegram, March 17, 2011.
  20. "The Case to Retire Big Brown, Monticello and Martin Lake Coal Plants," prepared for Sierra Club by Tom Sanzillo, TR Rose Associates, March 17, 2011

Related articles

External links