EDF helped prevent eight coal plants in Texas
In 2007, EDF’s Texas office hammered out a landmark deal that canceled eight planned TXU coal plants. Building on that success, EDF reached a compromise agreement with NRG Texas in 2008, requiring it to dramatically cut emissions from a proposed expansion plant.
These two deals send a strong message to companies: They must seriously consider environmental consequences before planning new coal plants in the Lone Star State.
The NRG compromise
When NRG announced plans to add another coal power plant to its Limestone facility in Jewett, Texas, EDF — together with Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition (TCACC) — announced our opposition and intention to intervene in the permit application process.
After several months of deliberations, NRG agreed to a compromise, which called for sequestering 50 percent of the carbon emitted from all three coal plants, among other concessions. In exchange for a long list of cutbacks and other agreements, EDF and TCACC dropped opposition to the expansion. (Read the press release)
Taking on TXU’s coal expansion plans
In early 2007, the TXU Corporation announced its plan to construct 11 coal-fired power plants, which would emit 78 million tons of carbon dioxide every year — more than the emissions of 21 states.
Our staff kicked into high gear and mounted an aggressive campaign urging TXU to scale back its plans: We ran television ads, gathered a full-court press at the Texas State Capitol and got 50 other environmental groups to sign a letter in favor of our stance. We rallied nearly 50,000 EDF members to send messages, attend public hearings and submit public comments in opposition.
One of our overarching messages was that the fastest, cleanest and cheapest way to meet Texas’s short-term electricity needs was through energy efficiency — not by constructing more coal fired power plants.
Results: Eight planned coal plants scrapped
EDF worked with Texas Pacific Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. to negotiate a TXU buyout that included the elimination of eight out of 11 proposed new power plants. The buyers also agreed to other standards, including a pledge to support a mandatory cap on carbon emissions.
“This was a groundbreaking deal,” says Jim Marston, director of the EDF Texas Regional Office and a major player in the negotiations. “While we didn’t solve every Texas environmental problem, this represents huge progress in the national global warming debate.”
These negotiations helped make Texas a cleaner and greener state, with the new TXU buyers ultimately pledging to double their use of wind power and reduce nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury by 20 percent.
How we use partnerships
To solve tough problems, we work with everyone from private equity fund managers to moms to Midwestern farmers.
Setting an example
In 2008, news of Jim Marston’s negotiations expertise reached the Yale School of Management, which deemed Jim’s leadership and the TXU deal worthy of a case study for their students.