Monticello Steam Station
Monticello Steam Electric Station was a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Luminant near Mount Pleasant, Texas.
The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in Mount Pleasant, about 115 miles east of Dallas.
- Owner: Luminant
- Parent Company: Vistra
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,980 megawatts (MW)
- Units and In-Service Dates: 593 MW (1974), 593 MW (1975), 793 MW (1978)
- Retired: January 2018
- Location: FM 127, Mount Pleasant, TX 75455
- GPS Coordinates: 33.087778, -95.038056
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source:
- Number of Employees:
In October 2017 Luminant announced all three units of the power station would be retired in January of 2018. The shutdown decision followed a year-long review of the plant's economic viability, after which the company decided the plant was a "money loser." In recent years, Luminant started operating Monticello only at times when demand and electricity prices were higher, mostly summer and winter peaks. Luminant has found it increasingly difficult to compete in the Texas market against cheaper natural gas and wind power.
- 2006 CO2 Emissions: 18,268,348 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions: 77,538 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
- 2006 NOx Emissions: 14,382 tons
- 2005 Mercury Emissions: 1,595 lb.
It was announced on September 12, 2011 that Monticello Unit 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 known as the Clean Air Transport Rule. It was also reported that the company would close both its Thermo Mine and Winfield South Mine at the same time.
The Clean Air Transport Rule rule was initially blocked by litigation. Later, Texas was removed from the list of states that must comply with that rule.
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."
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."
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Monticello Steam Station
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 Monticello Steam Station
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||54||$20,000|
Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011
Monticello sixth highest in 2009 mercury emissions
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 sixth highest mercury emissions was Monticello Steam Station, releasing 1,063 lbs in 2009.
Articles and Resources
- Jeff Mosier, "East Texas coal plant, once a big polluter, snuffed out by cheap natural gas," Dallas News, Oct 7, 2017
- "Think Power's Expensive in Texas This Year? Just Wait Until 2019," Bloomberg, February 26, 2018
- "Luminant Press Release" Luminant Announces Decision to Retire Its Monticello Power Plant, Oct l6, 2017
- "Energy Future Holdings threatens plant closures" Dallas Business Journal, September 12, 2011.
- "Sierra Club calls for closure of three Luminant coal plants in Texas" Jack Z. Smith, Star-Telegram, March 17, 2011.
- "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
- "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
- "Mercury Alert: Cleaning up Coal Plants for Healthier Lives" Environmental Defense Fund report, March 2011.
- 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.