UPDATE 2-Luminant Texas Oak Grove 1 coal unit enters service

Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:12pm GMT

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NEW YORK Dec 28 (Reuters) - Luminant said Monday the first of two 800-megawatt coal-fired units at the new Oak Grove power plant in Texas was now online.

Despite the possibility of federal caps on carbon dioxide emissions from coal and other fossil fired plants to stop global warming, this was the second coal plant for Luminant to enter service in Texas in the last six months or so after the 581 MW Sandow 5.

Luminant, of Dallas, said Sandow 5 and the Oak Grove units have the latest technology to control for nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and mercury emissions.

Oak Grove Unit 2 is scheduled for completion in mid-2010. Luminant started building Oak Grove in 2007.

Combined, the two Oak Grove units and Sandow 5, which together were expected to cost $3.25 billion, would generate enough power for more than 1.15 million Texas homes.

In 2010, at least a couple more coal units were expected to enter service in Texas, including Oak Grove 2 and a unit at CPS Energy's Spruce plant.

Texas generators have said the new coal plants were needed to meet the state's growing demand for power and diversify fuel sources.

About half the power plants in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) burn gas as a primary fuel, while another 20 percent are dual fueled by oil and gas. Just 18 percent are coal fired. ERCOT manages the grid for about 75 percent of Texas.

Oak Grove is located in Robertson County about 60 miles (96 km) north of Houston. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino)

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