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NRG tells ERCOT two mothballed gas-fired units in La Porte will retire

By: L.M. Sixel|

NRG Energy, the power producer and retail electric provider, notified the state’s grid manager the Electric Reliability Council of Texas that it is retiring two generating units in La Porte that became too outdated and inefficient to continue to operate.

The units at the SR Bertron natural gas-fired generation station were mothballed in 2013 and neither has operated in five years. The two units were capable producing 292 megawatts of power. A megawatt is enough to power about 200 Texas homes on a hot summer day.

Two other units at the site were retired last year, said NRG spokesman David Knox. All together, the four units generated about 714 megawatts.

The plants do not affect ERCOT’s reserve margin estimate because they were not included in the state’s generation capacity report. ERCOT has the lowest ever supply of back-up power heading into the summer.

In December, ERCOT announced it had a reserve margin of 8.1 percent, a measure of the cushion  that could be tapped in the event temperatures are higher than normal or generating facilities run into technical difficulties. Since then, a 470-megawatt coal plant near Bryan notified regulatory officials that it would not be available to generate power this summer, pushing the reserve margin down to 7.4 percent,  just over half of ERCOT’s reserve margin goal of 13.75 percent.