“Like anything else, they have a life span,” Cohn said. “At one time they operated full time. Then they go into the next phase, operating when demand is highest, and that became its role for a while.
“Historically, this plant ran predominantly through the peak heating and cooling seasons. It’s what we call a non-combined cycle natural gas plant, so it is less efficient and more costly to operate than other types of generating units.”
After retiring the facility, Luminant began to plan for demolishing it, no quick procedure.
“Back in the 1950s when the plant was built, asbestos was a commonly used insulation material,” Cohn said. “We conducted asbestos abatement in strict accordance with Texas Department of Health guidelines and OSHA regulations. A white sheeting is wrapped around the unit – protective sheeting that is designed to contain any debris, including asbestos, during the demolition process.”
After the containment process, the unit is dismantled leaving only a shell of the boiler structure. In the final step, the boiler shell is imploded, but that’s not the end of the cycle.
“We’re recycling ninety-five percent of the materials, including the steel and the copper,” said Cohn. “Also, the parts and pieces of the larger structure will get a second life.”
Luminant owns the land where the plant is located.
“ONCOR handles delivery for us in this area,” Cohn added. “They will continue to own and operate the switch yard that’s located on the north side of the property, where it is visible from Belt Line. We intend to sell the remainder of the land that ONCOR doesn’t use.”
Irving residents need not fear any lapse of power.
“Our fleet consists of natural gas, coal and nuclear energy. We also purchase wind power as well to supply ERCOT and the Texas grid,” she said.