Luminant recently submitted a water discharge permit renewal application with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for our DeCordova natural gas plant at Lake Granbury. That renewal application has led to some misperceptions and misinformation. In advance of an upcoming public meeting in Granbury on Tuesday, July 8, we want to address allegations, clear up some issues and answer questions residents and others may have.
First, some background. Luminant financed the original construction of Lake Granbury more than four decades ago. We have a vested interest in the long-term health of the lake and are elated the recent rains significantly raised the water level to within a few feet of the conservation pool. After all, an adequate, dependable, long-term supply of water is vital to the continued, safe operation of our power plants.
In addition, hundreds of our employees live in Hood County, so many of us have a first-hand understanding about water concerns in the area. Since some of our plants share water sources with others, we know our neighbors have questions about Luminant’s potential needs and plans for future water use.
Here’s what is most important about the DeCordova water discharge permit renewal application: Luminant is not seeking more water from Lake Granbury.
Luminant holds a water discharge permit that dates back to the 1970s for our DeCordova site. The state requires us to renew that permit at least every five years, and this application is in keeping with that process. Again, the renewal application does not request additional water. We are only seeking to retain the authorization to discharge the same amount of water allowed since the discharge permit was first issued.
Which brings us to another key point: The permit allows us to circulate water for cooling, and approximately 99 percent of the water would be recycled back into Lake Granbury.
The demand for power continues to grow in Texas along with the state’s economy and population. While current market conditions don’t support new generation, Luminant wants to preserve the potential of generation development at several of its sites, including DeCordova. We want to retain the permit, should we build another steam unit at DeCordova which would circulate water for cooling and then return it to the lake.
Yes, the TCEQ has granted us an air permit to potentially build two new natural gas combustion turbines at DeCordova. But, again, no decisions have been made about generation development. Some have mistakenly tried to connect the water discharge permit renewal application with the air permit for those combustion turbines, but – yet another important point – those types of units don’t require cooling water.
Water is an important issue that we’re all dealing with, not only in the communities around Lake Granbury but throughout Texas, and in many parts of the country, for that matter. We look forward to a discussion of the facts about the discharge permit renewal on July 8.