Luminant advisory panel hears of power plant, mining efforts

Luminant's Sandow Power Plant Unit 5 was of primary interest when the Luminant Community Advisory Panel (LCAP) met in September after a summer recess.

Improvements to Unit 4 and the status of Three Oaks Mine were also reported and discussed.

Luminant's Steve Skidd, director of generation for Sandow Power Plant, explained that completion of the new Unit 5 involves both generating electricity and meeting environmental permit conditions.

Unit 5 synchronized to the electric power grid at 2:27 p.m. on July 3. It ran for about 32 hours and made 34 megawatts of electricity, meaning it achieved commercial operation.

Not unexpectedly for a large new industrial plant, it has had some ups and downs since then. Skidd said that each time small problems are addressed, the plant runs longer between shutdown events.

It will be considered finally complete when it runs at least 30 days at 80 percent or more capacity without any forced outages or trips.

A planned outage in early November w ill allow builder Bechtel to check systems after the plant has run for some time.

The plant must also meet a deadline to achieve "environmentally substantive completion." On Sept. 14, Judge Sparks granted Luminant's request for an extension of 61 days past the original Aug. 31, 2009 deadline for running at set rates within the limits set by an air permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Meanwhile, construction of additional equipment to reduce emissions at Unit 4 is on schedule.

Mine Manager Jerry Poland also reported on operations on Luminant's second anniversary since taking over Three Oaks Mine. NEXT MEETING

Luminant CAP will meet from 6-8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9 at First United Methodist Church, 216 W. 3rd Street, in Elgin. For details, contact the LCAP facilitator at 800-484-9212 x 4127. Visitors are welcome.

Rockdale residents are also welcome to contact CAP member John Hughes at 512-947- 3191.

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