Gibbons Creek Generating Station, a shuttered coal-fired power plant about 20 miles from Bryan, is coming back to life for the summer of 2021, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s electricity grid manager.
The reopening comes as other coal plants are closing because they’re expensive to run compared with natural gas-fueled generating units and renewables such as wind and solar power. Vistra Energy of Irving, for example, closed three coal plants in 2018 with a combined generation capacity of more than 4,000 megawatts, or enough to power at least 800,000 Texas homes.The 420-megawatt Gibbons Creek power plant was mothballed last summer. In October, it was announced that it would be closing for good in October, according to reports from the Texas Municipal Power Agency, a group comprising the cities of Bryan, Garland, Denton and Greenville, that owned the plant.
The news the plant was going into hibernation brought the state’s cushion of reserve electricity down to a historic low of 7.4 percent, just over half of ERCOT’s reserve margin goal of 13.75 percent. ERCOT later boosted the reserve margin after uncovering new power sources.