Last week, CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipally-owned natural gas and electric utility, announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase an existing natural gas plant. Rio Nogales, located in Seguin, Texas, is an 800 megawatt combined-cycle gas plant that will replace the energy output of J.T. Deely, a two-unit coal plant, planned to come offline in 2018.
In comparison to the Deely Power Plant, a natural gas combined-cycle plant uses approximately one-half the water, emits approximately one-half the carbon dioxide, emits approximately one-third of the ozone-forming nitrogen oxide emissions, has virtually no sulfur dioxide, mercury, and particulate matter emissions, and has no ash by-product to dispose of, reducing recycling efforts.
“Natural gas is a clean fuel and there is plenty of it in the ground in Texas. CPS Energy’s purchase of an existing plant is a smart move for its ratepayers and the timing could not be more right,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration currently projects more than 30 gigawatts of future coal retirements over the next decade. New electric generation capacity in the coming decades will likely use natural gas, and many new power plants will use highly efficient combined-cycle technology, which uses less natural gas to generate electricity. This new demand can be met with adequate natural gas supplies. North America’s abundant natural gas resources will continue to help meet our nation’s energy needs, from new electric generation, new natural gas vehicles, to the direct use of natural gas in homes and businesses for heating and cooking.