Luminant considers adding two generators at Hood County power plant

Posted Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Energy Future Holdings is seeking an air permit for two new generators in Hood County designed to fire up quickly to meet peak electricity demand, although the company says it hasn't decided to build them yet.

The application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality comes as Texas regulators grapple with how to manage a tight electricity supply in the state, perhaps as early as this summer.

Squirreled away in EFH's earnings statement Tuesday is the disclosure that in December, subsidiary Luminant Generation filed for a permit to add two natural gas-fired combustion turbines at its DeCordova power plant, located just east of Granbury. The potential units would have total generating capacity of 460 megawatts, a reasonably large installation, and "will operate as peaking units," Luminant's TCEQ permit says.

Luminant's DeCordova plant currently has four combustion turbines with a combined 260 megawatts capacity, according to the company.

Luminant spokeswoman Ashley Barrie cautioned that filing for a TCEQ permit is only "an early step" and there's no assurance the units will be built.

"We've taken this step to put ourselves in position if market conditions" improve enough to make the investment worthwhile, Barrie told the Star-Telegram.

Combustion turbines are basically jet engines on the ground. In their most basic configuration, called simple-cycle, they burn natural gas to spin a turbine that turns a generator that makes electricity.

They're quick starters -- less than 30 minutes, the TCEQ permit says -- and that makes them good for coming online fast when electricity demand peaks during hot summer days. And while they're not as efficient as other designs, they're relatively inexpensive and can be built quickly.

The Brattle Group, in a June report to the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, estimated a $260 million cost for a simple-cycle combustion turbine plant producing 390 megawatts.

"While current market conditions do not provide adequate economic returns for the development or construction of new generation, we believe additional generation resources will be needed to support continued electricity demand growth and reliability in the ERCOT market," EFH's disclosure says.

Sundance projects hit milestone

Construction projects under way in the heart of Sundance Square reached a milestone this week with the topping out of The Commerce and The Westbrook office buildings, its developer said.

The buildings are among three new buildings and a public plaza planned for downtown Fort Worth, between Third and Fourth streets, and Commerce and Throckmorton streets.

The concrete superstructure has been completed on both buildings and roofs have been poured, Sundance Square said.

Ductwork and framing has begun on some floors of the buildings, with air handling units used for the HVAC systems also being installed. Exterior walls will begin to go up in the next 30 days as the project takes shape and nears an October completion date, Sundance said.

The Commerce, at 420 Commerce St., is a five-story, 83,000-square-foot building, and The Westbrook, 425 Houston St., is six stories and 93,000 square feet. Both will have ground-level retail space.

"We are right on schedule with this project," said Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square. "The buildings and plaza will open later this year and we are planning a community celebration for November. When this project is completed, the plaza itself will become a destination within Sundance Square."

An underground storm sewer replacement along Main Street will be completed in time for the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival in mid-April, a Sundance official said.

Construction also begins this month on the permanent, multipurpose stage at the base of The Westbrook. The steel structure of the clock tower in The Westbrook will be added by early March.

Which Wich set for West 7th

Which Wich, a sandwich shop known for its unique customer ordering system, plans a spot in the West 7th development.

Developer Cypress Equities said the 1,394-square-foot shop will open this year between Sweet Tomatoes and Wink Threading Salon in the 2900 block of West Seventh Street.

The restaurant features more than 50 varieties of sandwiches, customized as customers use red pens to make their choice on brown sandwich bags. Melissa Kulig with The Westover Group represented the tenant.

West 7th is a 13-acre pedestrian-friendly development at 7th Street and University Drive offering shops, apartments, offices and restaurants.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552

Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718

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