Luminant outage over; big Unit 4 project on tap during 2012

A routine maintenance outage at Luminant’s Sandow Power Plant Unit, which brought up to 700 workers to the site over the past couple of months, ended Friday.

Luminant spokesperson Ashlie Barrie said the company does not announce outages, or other information on its projects in advance “due to the competitive market.”

That includes what’s anticipated to be a major project in 2012, as Luminant installs a significant upgrade on Unit 4, part of a $280 million project announced in September.

In response to new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines targeting lignite coal, Luminant announced it would invest in current facilities, including Sandow 4, by the end of 2012.

CLOSINGS—Luminant also said it would close two of its three power plant units at Monticello and mines at Monticello and Big Brown.

That’s assuming an ongoing lawsuit against the EPA is unsuccessful.

Last week, Monticello was listed as the “dirtiest” power plant in Texas, and 12th in the United States, by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), an environmental group.

Before the old Sandow Power Plant Units 1, 2 and 3, were shut down, such lists routinely included Sandow.

‘ROUTINE’—The just-completed outage is not part of that project, according to Luminant.

“ We regularly conduct routine preventative maintenance activities on numerous pieces of equipment across our fleet to prepare for the peak winter and summer months,” Barrie said.

Since Alcoa shut down its Rockadale smelter in 2008 and 2009, Luminant construction and maintenance projects have provided major economic boosts to the local economy.

Construction of Sandow Power Plant Unit 5 brought thousands of workers to the area.

Unit 5 went on line in 2009.

There was also a major project at Unit 4, as antipollution equipment, mandated as a result of a lawsuit against Alcoa, was installed.

There are about 400 permanent Luminant jobs affilliated with its Sandow operations, counting Units 4 and 5, along with the Three Oaks Mine.

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