12-12-20 Trinidad Plant.jpg

Courtesy photo

Trinidad, with a history of electricity producing power plants dating back nearly a century, is losing one in 2021.

Luminant has informed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas of plans to retire its 235-MW natural gas-fired Trinidad Power Plant April 29, 2021. The major electric power producer made the announcement on Nov. 30.

The plant has been in use since 1965. It had the capacity to supply power to 49,000 homes at its peak. The announcement comes at a time when similar gas plants from that era are being shut down.

According to Luminant, the plant had a long history for safety, stating at one point that it had a record of more than 35 years without a lost time injury and 21 years without an OSHA reported injury.

According to Texas Power & Light history, Trinidad’s long foray into the industry began when the utility entered a contract in the 1920s to use coal from mines in nearby Malakoff to deliver to a new plant to be built along the Trinity River.

In 1926, the plant, then the largest in the United States went online. In the '40s, the plant began using natural gas, which was a cheaper resource and available nearby.

TP&L reports that the lignite mines in Malakoff closed in 1942 after extracting more than seven million tons of lignite.

In the post World War II era, natural gas plants became the most common in the industry. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas-fired generators accounted for 43% of operating electricity generating capacity in the United States in 2019. The generators provided 39% of electricity generation in 2019, and this is more than any other source.

But in recent years an increase of solar and nuclear power plants have arisen to compete for a share of the market.

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