Big Brown and Better Than Ever

Amidst all the furor over TXU's plans to to spend $10 billion on 11 new coal-fired power plants in Texas, the Dallas-based energy providers sends word today that it's going to restart its 575-megawatt Unit 2 at the Big Brown coal-fired power station in Freestone County today. Seems TXU's fixed the boiler tube leak that prompted the plant's shut-down November 14.

It's probably in TXU's best interest to keep Big Brown fully operational: The twin stacks there are the company's best evidence that it can provide coal-fired electricity without choking the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which is the main contributor to global warming. As Matthew Wald wrote in The New York Times a few days back, "with scrubbers, filters and catalytic converters, the new plants will be a lot cleaner than the smog-producing conventional ones, [and] in fact, at the plant in Fairfield, a city of about 3, 500 people roughly 80 miles south of Dallas, the twin stacks called Big Brown are so filtered already that it is difficult to tell if the boilers are running from a distance." Which begs the question, how would you know if it's back up and running? Energy jokes. It's come to this. Coal me. --Robert Wilonsky

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