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Aspen can mothball Lufkin biomass power plant: ERCOT

Houston β€” Aspen Power can proceed to mothball a 50-MW biomass generation unit north of Houston without impairing reliability, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Friday.

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Aspen Power announced plans on March 17 to suspend operations at the Lufkin Generating Station because of "poor" economics in the market on July 6. Commissioned in August 2011, the plant is Texas' first wood-based biomass power plant.

"ERCOT has completed its review and is issuing its initial determination that this Resource is not required to support ERCOT transmission system reliability (i.e. voltage support, stability or management of localized transmission constraints under first contingency criteria)," ERCOT said in an email to market participants.

Among other suspensions of operations announced for coming weeks include NRG Energy's 371-MW Greens Bayou 5 natural gas-fired steam boiler generator, as of June 27, and a 75-MW gas peaker at its 3,687-MW WA Parish power plant in southwest Houston on May 19.

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ERCOT notified NRG that it could proceed with the gas peaker suspension, but stakeholders have until Tuesday to submit comments on whether the Greens Bayou 5 plant is needed for reliability.

--Mark Watson, Markham.watson@platts.com
--Edited by Richard Rubin, richard.rubin@platts.com