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Tradinghouse Power Plant: A Legacy of Planning for the Growing Power Needs of Texas

We're committed to powering Texas with reliable, affordable and a sustainable supply of electricity


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The following op-ed ran in this Sunday’s Waco Tribune-Herald discussing Luminant’s plans to build new natural gas plants at Lake Creek and Tradinghouse.

 

For more than six decades, Luminant has had a presence in McLennan County as part of our deep commitment to meet the electric power demands of our growing state. A natural gas plant at our Lake Creek site near Riesel became operational in 1953. Another gas plant at Tradinghouse Lake went online in 1970. Both plants were important assets in powering Texas till they were retired six to seven years ago and the sites cleared.

Just like our predecessor companies that built those plants in the mid-20th century, Luminant shares the vision of planning for the future so our state has reliable affordable power to remain a great place to live, work and grow. That’s why we’re developing plans to potentially build new natural gas plants at Lake Creek and Tradinghouse. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has already granted air permits to build two 230-megawatt simple-cycle combustion turbines at each site for a total of 460 megawatts at both locations.

In 2015, Luminant applied to amend the Tradinghouse air permit to allow the option of converting the two simple-cycle turbines to what’s called combined-cycle capability in which a common steam turbine is added at approximately 350 megawatts. We’re also asking for the option there to potentially build two more simple-cycle turbines totaling about 460 megawatts that could run in combined-cycle with a second steam turbine of about 350 megawatts.

If all these units at Tradinghouse were to be built and running in combined-cycle mode, they’d produce approximately 1,620 megawatts of high-efficiency, low-emitting state-of-the-art natural gas-generated electricity. That’s enough to power about 810,000 homes in normal conditions.

McLennan County, the city of Waco and the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce have had questions about what impact nitrogen oxide emissions from the Tradinghouse plant, if built, might have on the area’s ozone. Vehicles, certain industries and fossil-fueled power plants all release NOx that can lead to ozone forming on hot, sunny days. The national ozone standard is 70 parts per billion as set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Waco area complies at 67 ppb. Understandably, the local governments and chamber want Waco to stay in compliance. So do we.

Their concerns stemmed from computer modeling by a consultant hired by the Heart of Texas Council of Governments. The consultant plugged in some mistaken assumptions on how the units could operate and the associated emissions impacts if we just ran the four gas turbines without the steam turbines at Tradinghouse. That kind of generation is neither realistic nor economical but would’ve been allowed under the permit amendment if approved.

However, the modeling showed if Tradinghouse ran in full combined-cycle mode as designed, and as it actually would, the ozone impact would be negligible. We shared with the county, city, chamber and Tribune-Herald why the consultant report overestimated the projected ozone impact of the plant because of these inaccuracies.

We’re committed to being good neighbors. We listen. And we work together in the communities our plants call home. So, to address these concerns, we told the TCEQ in April to add a permit limitation that would allow only two of the gas turbines to run in simple-cycle mode at any given time.

Recently, an environmental activist wrote in the Trib opposing construction of the Tradinghouse plant, claiming Texas should no longer rely on fossil-fueled power plants, just renewable energy. Solar and wind have a place in the diverse energy mix that’s powering Texas. But to rely on intermittent forms of generation isn’t realistic. Just this spring, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told those who demand fossil fuels remain in the ground that “to say we could shift to 100 percent renewables is naïve.”

In citing cities, such as Georgetown, that plan to purchase 100 percent renewable energy, what this activist doesn’t mention is that such deals are possible only because of dependable generation such as natural gas. Even the mayor of Georgetown acknowledges when there’s not enough wind or sun, his city must buy power from the ERCOT grid where almost 90 percent of the power comes from reliable fuels, such as natural gas.

We’ve made no final decision to build these plants at Tradinghouse and Lake Creek. Market conditions driven by low wholesale power prices just don’t financially support new generation. But more will be needed eventually and, by securing the needed air permits, Luminant wants to be in the position to quickly add new generation when conditions improve.

At Luminant, we’re proud of our stewardship of the air and water. All of our existing plants meet or exceed all the environmental rules and laws of our state and nation. And should we be granted the permit amendment we’re seeking and build at Tradinghouse, we can assure the people of McLennan County the affordable power generated there will use the best technology, emissions controls and, importantly, be dependable to keep up with the power demands of a growing Texas.

WE USA Recognizes EFH in the 2016 WE 100 Corporations of the Year Annual List

Committed to the development of women-owned businesses, small businesses, and businesses owned by minorities and veterans


 

WE 100 LogoEvery year, Women’s Enterprise (WE) USA recognizes 100 corporations that demonstrate an active commitment to empowering women-owned businesses through partnerships that contribute to the success of WBEs across the country.

EFH is honored to be included in this year’s WE 100 Corporations of the Year annual list.

We are committed to advocating and supporting the economic development and utilization of small business, and businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans. At EFH, we recognize that a successful, progressive and innovative supplier diversity initiative not only enhances the economic development of our communities, but also strengthens our competitive advantage in the marketplace.

“It is a pleasure to highlight the companies that have carved pathways for entrepreneurial women to bring competitive, collaborative, innovative and high-quality services to an ever-expanding marketplace,” said WE USA Publisher Jarilyn Fox. “These corporations have helped set the stage for WBE success.”

WE USA uses a variety of key indicators to determine the WE 100 including:

  • Impactful promotion of supplier diversity to improve business performance
  • Identification of opportunities to include WBEs
  • Ensuring a positive environment that fosters innovative ideas among employees and suppliers
Heather Herndon-Wright, EFH director of supplier diversity

Heather Herndon-Wright, EFH director of supplier diversity

“We’re honored to be among the organizations recognized for making strides in respect to the development and utilization of companies owned by women,” said Heather Herndon Wright, director of supplier diversity for EFH. “The inclusion of women-owned businesses in our supply chain drives business value for EFH, reinforces our commitment to diversity and to the economic development of our communities.”

Click here to learn about the Supplier Diversity initiative at EFH.

TXU Energy, Social Service Agencies Keep Texans Safe, Cool in Their Homes


For more than 30 years, TXU Energy has helped its customers in financial crisis through TXU Energy Aid, the largest bill-payment program among all retail electricity providers in the United States. But the longevity and size of the program aren’t the only things that make it stand out.

Kim Campbell, Community Relations Manager, speaks to the Houston community about TXU Energy Aid.

Kim Campbell, Community Relations Manager, speaks to the Houston community about TXU Energy Aid.

As the Waco Tribune-Herald noted in an editorial, the program helps TXU Energy customers who are in financial crisis regardless of their recent income history. That’s important because many assistance programs are tied to the federal poverty rate and other guidelines, which disqualifies many Texans from getting assistance.

Whether it’s an unexpected job loss, emergency medical bills or some other reason, many families are one crisis away from needing assistance. Partners in the TXU Energy Aid program, including Catholic Charities of Fort Worth, say the program gives them tremendous flexibility to help families regain self-sufficiency. In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Catholic Charities said TXU Energy Aid brings in people who need additional help to get back on their feet.

Consumers who know they cannot pay their current electricity bill should call their provider as quickly as possible to seek assistance. They can also call the state’s 2-1-1 referral network to find an agency that can provide help.

TXU Energy is honored by the trust millions of Texans put in our company to power their homes and businesses. The company is also grateful to the hundreds of social service agencies that help our neighbors through TXU Energy Aid and other programs.

 

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TXU Energy Helps to Make the American Dream a Reality for an American Hero

Honoring a local veteran and his family with a home to call their own


Operation Finally Home - Holcomb HouseThanks to the collaborative efforts of TXU Energy, Operation FINALLY HOME, Mishler Builders, the Dallas Builders Association and FC Dallas, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Jerry Holcomb and his family received the keys to their custom-built, mortgage-free home this month.

It was less than one year ago at the FC Dallas’s 2015 4th of July celebration that Sgt. Holcomb and his family received life-changing news about their new home. Even more surprising was that this home would not only be custom-built for their needs, but would also be mortgage-free thanks to Operation FINALLY HOME, a national non-profit that works to provide homes to our country’s veterans. TXU Energy is honored to be a part of the effort to give this American hero a home to call his own by helping to provide appliances for it.

Sgt. Holcomb joined the U.S. Army in 2001 and during his 13-year career with the Army he served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. It was in Afghanistan where he was first injured when two separate grenades exploded nearby. A short time later, a blast threw him from his guard tower, extending the depth of his injuries. Since retiring from the Army in November 2014, Sgt. Holcomb has been awarded two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Star Medals, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal and an Iraq Campaign Medal for his service.

Operation Finally Home 2016 - Holcomb HomeIt is by partnering with organizations like Operation FINALLY HOME that we are able to make a difference in the lives of veterans and their families. Energy Future Holdings, Luminant and TXU Energy are home to many veterans and active reservists, and throughout the years, we have been recognized for our work with veteran-owned businesses. We will continue to give back to this community and invite you to follow our progress.

Focusing on Zero

During National Safety Month, we reflect on our commitment to safety


SafetyZero_lgAt Luminant, safety is always our top priority and zero injuries is always the goal. We live by a commitment to Safety Zero, which means zero incidents, accidents, injuries, near misses and zero acceptance for unsafe acts and behaviors.

Achieving zero doesn’t just happen. It requires a collective commitment of every employee, according to Cliff Watson, Luminant vice president of power services.

“Safety Zero is not just a catchy campaign slogan. It is our culture, our commitment and our number one priority at Luminant – above everything else,” Watson said. “Over time, our employees have embraced the Safety Zero culture and are achieving top safety performance by using human performance improvement tools and performing their jobs as true professionals – the Luminant Way.”

Thanks to their steadfast commitment to zero, Luminant employees across the company recently achieved numerous significant safety milestones:

As a company, Luminant also marked its safest year in history in 2015, due in large part to the safety record of the mining team.

MSHA 2015“This level of safety excellence is a testament to our employees’ sustained commitment to achieve Safety Zero,” said Michael Barley, Luminant safety manager. “While June is celebrated as National Safety Month, we live each day with safety top of mind. We’re continuously striving for zero and we look for opportunities for further strengthen our safety culture.”

Spotlighting Safety: For Luminant’s mining team, safety is about learning and improving every day. Watch a recent Eye on Luminant video to find out how their processes have evolved over the years to help them achieve top safety performance.

 

TXU Energy Aid Helps our Neighbors Stay Cool and Safe

Program contributes to the well-being of the Lone Star State


Now that summer is officially upon us, we’re ready for high temperatures to strike across Texas. But for many of our neighbors with inefficient homes and little or no income, summer can be a costly season filled with difficult choices. That’s where TXU Energy AidSM can lend a helping hand.

TXU Energy partners with social service agencies across the state to offer financial relief for TXU Energy customers who cannot pay their electricity bills. These customers might be chronically low-income or might have suffered a recent job loss or unexpected medical bills.

Through the contributions of TXU Energy, its employees and customers, non-profits like Sharing Life Community Outreach in Mesquite are able to help families with their electricity bills, as featured in a recent WFAA story.

In addition to TXU Energy Aid, qualified families can get help via the Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program or through other private funds administered by social service agencies. Dialing 2-1-1 is an easy way to get connected with a local organization.

In 2015 alone, Sharing Life and TXU Energy provided $390,000 of assistance from the Mesquite location.

The TXU Energy Aid program has helped more than 478,000 valued customers in bill-payment assistance totaling nearly $90 million in its more than 30 year existence.

Learn more about our TXU Energy Aid partners in this recent video about the program, and check out one customer’s story.

TXUE_Aid_4CPTo contribute to this program, look no further than the front of your TXU Energy invoice or email us at EnergyAid@TXU.com for more information.

Celebrating an American Icon, the Majestic Bald Eagle

Protecting and preserving our nation’s symbol of freedom


Eagle at Big Brown Power Plant and Turlington Mine

Majestic eagle at Big Brown Power Plant and Turlington Mine

Legend has it that at least one of our founding fathers lobbied for the turkey to be considered our country’s national bird. While the turkey is indeed a special bird, for the past 234 years and counting, the bald eagle has been an American icon and proud symbol for the United States of America.

Each year, on June 20, we celebrate and honor the bald eagle, our national bird and national animal. It has become the most depicted bird in all of America, appearing in many government institutions and on official documents, including the one dollar bill, the president’s flag, the mace of the House of Representatives and military insignia. In real life, this majestic bird can be found throughout most of North America, including northern Mexico, Canada, Alaska and in our home state of Texas.

In fact, bald eagles have been spotted across numerous Luminant locations. On average, several mating pairs are identified at our facilities each year. Luminant works with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Texas Railroad Commission to protect bald eagles, their nests and their habitat. Bald eagle sightings by employees are documented, and detailed surveys for nests are conducted annually by members of Luminant’s environmental team.

Eagles sit on tree at Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant - Squaw Creek Park

Eagles sit on tree at Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant – Squaw Creek Park

“We’re respectful of the eagles and other wildlife that call our facilities and reclaimed land home. Throughout the year, we perform a range of activities to ensure that we do not disturb the eagles’ nests,” says Sid Stroud, Luminant environmental manager. “Over the years, we’ve seen an increase in their feeding activity at our plant’s water reservoirs. They truly are a majestic bird.”

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

Did you know? In addition to bald eagles, a number of endangered, threatened and protected species, including the interior least tern, timber rattlesnake and an abundance of other wildlife benefit from Luminant’s restored mined lands and reservoirs.

 

More feathered highlights: See how Luminant helped Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Eastern wild turkey restoration effort take flight on more than 10,000 acres of reclaimed land in Rusk County.

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.