Just say no to coal

January 8, 2019

Adios, J.T. Deely power plant, and not a moment too soon.

CPS Energy’s first coal-fired power plant has been shuttered.

For 41 years, the Deely plant helped keep the lights on in San Antonio, but filling our air with pollution along the way. It pumped millions and millions of tons of carbon dioxide, the leading contributor to man-made climate change, into the air.

Its emissions exacerbated the region’s asthma and ozone problems.

J.T. Deely’s first unit opened in 1977. The second unit followed a year later. It was a different time. Coal was cheap. Natural gas was expensive. There was less public awareness about man’s impact on the climate.

But in recent years, there simply was no reason to stick with the Deely plant. Natural gas is cheaper than coal, and will remain so for years. Upgrades to meet environmental regulations at the plant were cost-prohibitive and there is wide awareness about coal’s role in man-made climate change.

CPS Energy officials are pondering what to do with the massive plant, and one possibility is converting it to natural gas. But even here, the outlook is questionable.

Technology keeps marching forward. Researchers at Rice University have found Texas could cover much of its energy needs with solar and wind power sources.

CPS Energy still faces a coal conundrum with its much newer J.K. Spruce power plant — the Spruce 2 unit was built in 2010 so we are likely stuck with it for decades.

But the less coal, the better. And closing Deely definitely means less coal.

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