The coal plant ex-Mayor Miller does support

Former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller may have led the fight against TXU’s coal plants but that doesn’t mean she’s against all coal power plants.

Penwell, Tx., near Odessa, lost out on FutureGen but it might get a bigger prize. (AP Photo/Joshua Scheide)

While in Houston Thursday for the local premiere of Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars, the Robert Redford-backed documentary about the TXU battle, Miller let slip that she’s now working with a company planning to build a coal plant in Texas that uses the coal gasification technology known by the acronym IGCC. The project (or projects) will be built by Seattle-based Summit Power with plans to capture and sequester as much as 60 percent of the CO2 emissions. We had a short item about the plans of Summit Power here today.
Where might these plants go? How about the two sites that were in the running for FutureGen? Could be… Miller and Summit wouldn’t say where the plants might go but sources told us the Odessa FutureGen site could be one of them. It’s just a mile or so from an existing CO2 pipeline used for enhanced oil recovery and has already been heavily studied in preparation for the failed bid for FutureGen.
While FutureGen was aiming to create a 125 mw plant with 90 percent carbon capture and sequestration Miller said the Summit project will be for 600 mw and 60 percent CCS. “Ninety-percent just isn’t feasible today, at least not yet,” Miller said. She said she stepped down from the coalition she helped form to fight the coal plants to start working with Summit because of the possible conflict of interest.
So who is Summit Power? The firm has about 4,500 megawatts of power plants in operation, mainly natural gas fired and a wind project, but says on its web site it has several coal projects in the works that will use the “Siemens Westinghouse 501FD combined cycle equipment” in IGCC projects.
The principals include some Reagan-era energy and interior officials, including Donald Paul Hodel, the former Energy Secretary (1982-1985) and Interior Secretary (1985-1988); and Earl Gjelde, the former Under Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the Interior Department (1985-1989) and Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer of the Energy Department. (1982-1985).