CPS Energy to phase out coal within 5 years

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Power Plant expects to convert or close the remaining two coal-fired power plants by 2028.

On Monday, CPS Energy’s Board of Trustees voted 4-1 to adopt a new power generation planning portfolio. The option she chose, known as Portfolio 2, was one of nine considered and included a combination of gas, solar, wind and energy storage.

The “blended” option deliberately excludes coal, meaning that CPS Energy will close the Spruce 1 plant and move Spruce 2 to a natural gas plant.

Moving away from coal has been a longtime goal of climate activists, but that victory has been overshadowed by the steady use of natural gas to generate electricity. Although natural gas burns cleaner than coal, it also has methane emission problems.

council resolution The official deadline for getting rid of coal is 2030, but utilities plan to do it earlier.

CPS Energy CEO and President Rudy Garza says the aging Spruce 1 plant will need $150 million in environmental upgrades to keep it running beyond 2027. Thus, the plant should be closed by the end of this year.

“From time to time we can do the necessary work to convert the Spruce 2 unit to natural gas,” he told KSAT on Tuesday.

The utility previously closed its Dili coal power plant in 2019.

DeeDee Belmares, climate justice organizer at Public Citizen, said the Spruce plant closure was something community groups have been fighting for for years.

“It’s a big pollutant,” she said. “Good news for the air we breathe.”

Belmares also served on the utility’s rate advisory committee (RAC), which considered various portfolio options. Although the RAC ultimately recommended Portfolio 2, Belmares personally preferred other options with “cleaner resources to replace it”.

“We know that we need to completely reduce our use of fossil fuels over the next decade to avoid the worst effects of climate change,” Belmares said.

The converted Spruce 2 unit is expected to operate until 2065.

San Antonio adopted the Climate Change Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) in 2019, which aims to make the city carbon neutral by 2050.

While the new portfolio will be enough for the city to meet the plan’s benchmark by 2030, it will not be enough to meet the 2040s or the 2050 end goal.

However, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who sits on the public utilities board, says the new portfolio “shouldn’t be seen as a plan that’s already been implemented and we’ll never have to go back to it. It will be an ongoing process.”

“The reality is that if we are going to reach our reduction, our emission reduction targets, we are going to reach the cap targets. We have to keep working on this year after year, year after year.”


KSAT Q&A: Mayor Ron Nirenberg Discusses San Antonio’s Future Energy Plans

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