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It's Not The Biggest, But Coal Is A Large Piece Of Texas Energy Production


The largest type of energy source in the state comes from natural gas, but business leaders, state officials and electric companies are still concerned about the proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), natural gas has the highest percentage of electric power capacity in Texas in 2014.

"Coal-fired generation capacity represents just under 23 percent of the generation resources in Texas, where natural gas represents more than 57 percent,” said ERCOT’s Robbie Searcy.

In 2013, coal power represented 37.2 percent of the Texas electric power portfolio according to ERCOT, while natural gas comprised just over 40 percent.

Under the newly proposed EPA rules, the agency has given each individual state the flexibility to come up with it’s own plan to reduce carbon emissions from older power plants. John Fainter is the executive director of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas and said it isn’t very easy for these coal-fired plants to simply switch to another resource.

“Probably not very many of them that you can convert from coal fired to gas powered," Fainter said. "The EPA in the past has implied that that’s a fairly easy process."

Fainter said the cost of these new rules will cause many companies to switch to another type of generation.

“Gas, obviously, is the fuel that will be the base fuel for a lot of replacement," Fainter said. "Carbon capture and sequestration on coal; that technology is very expensive.”

Beyond coal and natural gas, the other significant chunks of Texas’ electric power production are made up of wind and nuclear. According to a release by ERCOT, Texas' 11,000 megawatt capacity for wind power generation is the highest in the nation.

Wind accounted for 13.4 percent of the total amount of energy used in 2013 according to ERCOT, with nuclear accounting for 11.6 percent of energy used.