All posts by Caroline Atkins

A Soaring Success

Luminant Completes Eagle Nest Relocation Effort


An abundance of wildlife, including numerous bald eagles, call Luminant’s sites and reclaimed land home. When Liberty Mine’s resident bald eagle pair returns this fall, they’ll find a few home renovations – most notably, a new nest location.

The eagles’ nest was recently moved away from mining activities to a new location on company property near Martin Creek Lake in Rusk County. The relocation was a collaborative effort between Luminant’s environmental team, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and avian experts at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.

“The eagles built their nest in 2015 near the company’s lignite coal mining operations. Although no longer listed as endangered, eagles are still protected and Luminant is required to maintain a 660-foot buffer with no mining activity around their nests,” said Pete Okonski, Luminant environmental specialist. “We want this eagle pair to thrive, so we began working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and SFA several months ago to determine the new nest location and the best structure design to support the nest.”

Following permit approval by the federal agency, Luminant’s environmental team then began a 10-day monitoring period of the nest to ensure there was no eagle activity. With no eagles in sight, it was time for movingEagle Nest Relocation_rotator day.

“The nest was integrated into the top branching system of a 70-foot loblolly pine tree, which meant we needed to find a way to keep the nest intact,” said Sid Stroud, Luminant environmental manager. “After cutting away the extra limbs, we removed and transported the section of the tree with the nest and secured it on top of a platform made out of repurposed utility poles. This new vantage point provides the eagles with excellent visibility for locating fish and other prey.”

The nest, which is nearly four feet in diameter or approximately the size of semi-truck tire, is now located over 1,000 feet from the old nest site and is far removed from mining activities. According to Okonski, the relocation effort took innovation and teamwork to new heights.

“The entire project was extremely impressive. To see the way our teams and employees worked together, you would think we performed nest relocations on a regular basis,” Okonski said. “We take great pride in our reclamation practices, including our wildlife recovery, enhancement and management programs. We’re hopeful that the eagles will decide to make this new location their permanent home.”

Environmental employees will monitor the nest for eagle activity this fall and for eaglets in the spring.
“We’re respectful of the eagles and other wildlife that live at our facilities and reclaimed land,” Stroud said. “Over the years, we’ve seen an increase in eagle numbers across several of our sites. They truly are a majestic bird.”

Bald Eagle Highpoints: According to the National Eagle Center, the average bald eagle nest is four to five feet in diameter. Each year, the adult pair will add up to two feet of new material to the nest. The largest recorded nest, located in St. Petersburg, Fla., was nearly 10 feet in diameter, 20 feet deep and weighed nearly three tons.

After Hours with Terry Perry

Lake Hubbard Power Plant Superintendent


Chasing the thrill of the rodeo life, Terry Perry is most at home in the saddle. He’s been taking life by the horns and honing his skills as a team roper for the past 40 years. Between competitions, he’s lassoing interest in the sport by mentoring others through church rodeos, riding clubs and 4-H events. “No one is too old or too young to learn how to rope and ride,” Terry says. “All it takes is a little bit of grit, guts and gumption.”TPerryAfterHours_POV

Luminant-Sponsored Robocats Bring Home the Gold

Invaluable lessons in teamwork and the sciences


Robocats - August 2016 - 1The Woodrow Wilson High School robotics team, the Robocats, recently battled their way to the top during the inaugural UIL Robotics State Championship. With help from a $1,000 Luminant sponsorship donation, the Dallas ISD team won first place and took home a gold medal for their best-in-class robot performance.

The competition, titled Stronghold, challenged participants to form alliances and build robots capable of breaching their opponents’ fortifications, weakening their tower with boulders and scaling the opposing tower. In addition to the Robocats, the winning alliance included the Clear Creek ISD Robonauts, the Greenville ISD Robowranglers and the Harlandale ISD Rhumbots.

“The teamwork, expertise and engineering knowledge demonstrated by the Robocats and their alliance teams was awe-inspiring,” said Tony Rylander, Luminant principal engineer and Robocats mentor. “Countless hours go into designing and constructing these robots. We had an incredible journey and I’m thrilled to see the Robocats accomplish their first championship win.”

Robocats team members, ranging from freshman to seniors, learn critical Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills, including electrical, mechanical and programming concepts. This fall, the team will gear back up to compete in the Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) Regional Robotics Championship.

Learn more about the Robocats’ journey throughout the years.

Robocats - August 2016 - 2

Luminant Provides a Real-World Learning Experience

STEM lessons for Texas teachers


Workshop participants learned about soil texture and collected soil samples for field testing while touring Three Oaks Mine’s reclamation areas.

Workshop participants learned about soil texture and collected soil samples for field testing while touring Three Oaks Mine’s reclamation areas.

Furthering their knowledge of environmental stewardship and energy production, nearly 20 elementary and secondary teachers attended a Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (TMRA) workshop at Luminant’s Sandow Power Plant and Three Oaks Mine. Through the workshop’s interactive sessions, our state’s educators were able to connect the link between natural resources, their role in energy production and the importance of environmental stewardship – all valuable lessons they’ll take back to their classrooms this fall.

Standing in the pit at Three Oaks Mine, attendees learned about lignite formation and various geologic processes.

Standing in the pit at Three Oaks Mine, attendees learned about lignite formation and various geologic processes.

“Luminant has a longstanding history of supporting educational outreach efforts and our employees who helped lead multiple workshop seminars are true subject matter experts,” said Robert Gentry, Luminant Academy curriculum manager. “With the potential to reach more than 2,000 students, opportunities like these help equip teachers with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to effectively communicate energy-related topics in their classrooms.”

During the week-long workshop, participants attended multiple field and classroom seminars highlighting various environmental science topics and received a first-hand look at mined land reclamation.

Luminant has set the standard in mined land reclamation for more than 40 years, restoring nearly 80,000 acres and planting more than 38 million trees that will benefit Texas’ landscapes and wildlife for generations to come.

The teachers also stood inside of a dragline bucket at Three Oaks Mine.

The teachers also stood inside of a dragline bucket at Three Oaks Mine.

TMRA teacher workshops offer Texas teachers science-based information to help better educate their students about the availability, importance, development and use of our natural resources. During one-week sessions, teachers tour mining facilities, visit reclamation areas and participate in hands-on labs with the objective of returning to the classroom and providing their students with real-world, problem-solving activities – such as designing a surface mine, restoring land or developing water resources. Learn more about TMRA teacher workshops here.

 

Staying Hydrated Means Staying Safe

Watch New Eye on Luminant Video


 

As summer temperatures continue to rise, so do the dangers of heat-related illnesses – which means hydration is more important than ever to beat the heat.

Find out how to keep your cool:  Watch the latest Eye on Luminant video to see why hydration is critical to achieve Safety Zero throughout the summer months of high power demand.

Watch: New Forney and Lamar Combined-Cycle 101 Video

Powering Texas with highly efficient combined-cycle technology


Further diversifying Luminant’s energy portfolio, the new Forney and Lamar power plants are the first units in the fleet with combined-cycle technology. The high-efficiency plants – which use both natural gas and steam turbines to generate electricity – are now key assets for powering Texas with safe, reliable and affordable power.

Located in Kaufman and Lamar counties, the plants have a combined capacity of nearly 3,000 megawatts and can power 1.5 million homes in normal conditions. Luminant finalized the acquisition of the plants in April.

Ignite Your Interest in Combined-Cycle Technology
Watch the latest Eye on Luminant video to learn how Forney and Lamar operate and why they’re a great fit for powering Texas.


Forney and Lamar Fast Facts
Find more information about the sites in the new Forney fact sheet and Lamar fact sheet.

Luminant Lignite Helps Power Geology Program at Museums Across Texas

Donated lignite samples to be used in geology presentations and educational kits


Mined lignite coal from Luminant’s Turlington Mine – normally used to fuel Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County – is now generating educational opportunities at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. Donated lignite samples will be used in the museum’s geology presentations and in geology kits for teachers to use in their classrooms.

Ryan Holt (left), Turlington Mine superintendent, presents lignite samples to Tim Brys (right), Perot Museum teaching collection coordinator. Donated lignite samples will be used in the Perot Museum’s geology presentations and geology kits.

Ryan Holt (left), Turlington Mine superintendent, presents lignite samples to Tim Brys (right), Perot Museum teaching collection coordinator. Donated lignite samples will be used in the Perot Museum’s geology presentations and geology kits.

“Lignite is interesting to study because it was formed millions of years ago by the decomposition of plant material in swamp-like environments,” said Melinda Parker, Luminant senior geologist. “As the plant material was buried and compacted, increasing temperatures and pressures led to the formation of coal. Lignite is the lowest-ranking coal and is a reliable source of power generation.”

The Perot Museum also shared Luminant’s lignite samples with the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and the Nature Exchange at the Dallas Zoo.

Luminant’s goal is to quickly return mined land to productivity and achieve all regulatory reclamation obligations. For more than 40 years, Luminant has set the standard in mined land reclamation, restoring nearly 80,000 acres, planting more than 38 million trees and creating or enhancing more than 5,100 acres of wetlands, ponds and stream channels.

 

Luminant Lignite 101:

  • Luminant’s mining team produces lignite from the Calvert Bluff Formation – a major lignite-producing formation in the Texas Gulf Coast region.
  • Our mining team recently achieved the lowest injury rate in the nation among the largest mining companies, according to a review of the 2015 MSHA Recordable Injury Rates. Watch the latest Eye on Luminant video to find out how the team is digging into the record books.
  • Luminant mining is the largest mining company in Texas and the ninth largest in the United States.

Team TXU Energy Goes the Distance to Help Find a Cure for MS

Cycling to Beat MS


WP_20160430_06_56_06_Rich_largeDuring the recent 150-mile Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round-Up Ride, more than 80 employees shifted their fundraising efforts into high gear and raised more than $70,000 to support the fight against multiple sclerosis.

Participants could choose to ride as little as 30 miles on Day One or cycle the entire 180 miles throughout the two-day ride. Riders began in Frisco and ended Day One with barbecue at our team tent at Texas Motor Speedway. On Day Two, riders completed a lap around the actual speedway, biked on country roads and crossed the finish line at Sundance Square in Fort Worth.
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“Several team members hit the road for the first time and completed both days despite challenging wind conditions and hills,” said Angela Tortorice, Team TXU Energy Bike MS captain and EFH IT performance management senior analyst. “Year after year, our team’s commitment to training and fundraising continues to astound me. This ride is a great opportunity to see how our employees give back to the North Texas community.”

IMG953752Since 2003, employees have raised more than $915,000 to help find a cure for MS, which is estimated to affect more than 400,000 Americans. Team TXU Energy hopes to raise a total of $80,000 by the end of the summer. To help the team reach their goal, find the name of a rider you would like to support on the TXU Energy Bike MS page.

Bike MS Sam’s Club: Round-Up Ride is a two-day fundraising cycling event that takes place from Frisco to Fort Worth. To date, Bike MS has raised more than $1 billion to help those affected by MS and is the number one fundraising cycling series in the country.