White Stallion Energy Center

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm|Navbar-CoalPlants}} The White Stallion Energy Center was a proposed coal-fired power plant located outside of Bay City in Matagorda County, Texas.

On September 5, 2008, the White Stallion Energy Center Project filed an air quality permit application with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a 1,320-megawatt, electric power generating station on a 1,200-acre tract on the Colorado river. The permit was awarded to the plant in September 2010.[1]

The proposed plant was designed to burn petroleum coke and coal. According to Randy Bird, White Stallion’s chief operating officer, the development phase was originally expected to be completed by the end of 2009, and the four to five year construction period would begin in spring 2010.[2]

In February 2013 White Stallion announced it was suspending its plans to build the plant.[3]

February 2013: Project cancelled

On February 15, 2013, the Sierra Club announced that the project had been cancelled. The announcement explained the reasons for the cancellation as follows:[4]

Developers had trouble securing sufficient water to operate the plant and the necessary funding to develop the proposed plant in earnest. In November 2011, amid strong grassroots opposition, the Lower Colorado River Authority voted to deny a contract to provide water to operate the plant. In May 2012, local fishermen and business owners publicly announced their opposition to the plant because it would be a major new source of mercury pollution in a community whose economy is tied closely to the bay. The plant also suffered a blow when a court ruled against its challenges to Clean Air Act safeguards.
Since the plant was proposed in 2008, the Texas electricity market has shifted substantially, with wind power and natural gas driving electricity prices so low that huge, capital-intensive new coal plants could not compete. Wind power provided over 20% of Texas’ electricity on peak days in 2012, and new wind farms will bring more clean, low-cost electricity to the Texas grid in 2013 and the near future.

Plant background

On March 13, 2009, the TCEQ issued a draft air permit for the White Stallion Energy Center. No public comment period will be held because White Stallion requested a direct referral to a contested case hearing.[5]

In September 2010, Matagorda County's No Coal Coalition, along with Public Citizen and the Sierra Club, released a study finding that the White Stallion Energy Center is expected to lead to more than 600 premature deaths during its lifetime and add a cost burden to society of over $5 billion. The study was done by David Schoengold, of MSB Energy Associates, using the Abt Associates health impact estimator, a model used to evaluate the impacts of any proposed power plants on a county basis. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Maximum Allowable Emission Rates table, White Stallion had the potential to emit the following significant pollutants over a 60-year lifetime: 4.956 tons per year of sulfur dioxide; 4,048 tons per year of nitrogen oxide; 1.176 tons per year of particulate matter PM2.5 (fine particle pollutant); 288 tons per year of VOC (volatile organic compounds); and 148 tons per year of ammonia, said Schoengold. The specific health impacts of White Stallion is listed by Schoengold are: 1,210 cases of acute bronchitis; 1,070 heart attacks; 13,500 cases of asthma exacerbation; 470 cases of chronic bronchitis; 770 asthma-related ER visits; 360 cardiovascular hospital admissions; 170 respiratory hospital admissions; 14,370 lower respiratory symptoms; 552,730 minor reduced activity days; 630 deaths; 10,840 upper respiratory symptoms; and 93,720 work loss days.[6]

On September 30, 2010 Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in Texas awarded the White Stallion Energy Plant an air permit which will allow construction of the plant to begin. Planners, however, will have to lower projected emissions of certain toxins, including particulate matter and sulfuric acid. In addition, the facility was yet to receive its operating and wastewater permits.[7]

In May 2011 a Travis County in Texas judge ordered further review of the air-quality permit that Texas regulators had awarded it previously.[8]

On June 15, 2011 it was announced that the Lower Colorado River Authority board delayed the decision on whether to grant a large water contract to the proposed White Stallion coal plant. The board heard testimony from people who live in the Colorado River basin. These individuals cited concerns about water availability and air pollution, and urged further study of the proposed 40-year contract. The board will consider the issue again on Aug. 10, 2011.[9]

Project Details

Sponsor: White Stallion Energy Project
Location: Port of Bay City, Matagorda County, TX
Capacity: 1320 MW
Type: Circulating fluidized bed
Status: Cancelled

Opposition to plant

Groups of Texas ranchers, shrimpers, rice farmers and residents have banded together to oppose the White Stallion Energy Center, largely based on water, which is seen as a scare resource in the state. The groups are pressing government agencies not to approve plant construction permits and in certain cases are pursuing legal challenges.

"We have people that need water that don't have water," said Allison Sliva, who leads the group fighting a proposed coal-fired power plant in Bay City, a rural area about 80 miles south of Houston. "We can't continue to burn coal and have industrial plants that require huge amounts of water."[10]

Citizen Groups



  1. "Clean-coal plant looks at site near Wadsworth", Mike Reddell, Bay City Tribune, October 6, 2008.
  2. "Clean-coal plant looks at site near Wadsworth", Mike Reddell, Bay City Tribune, October 6, 2008.
  3. Nathanial Gronewold, "Electricity-hungry Texas discourages big coal-fired power plant," ClimateWire, February 19, 2013.
  4. "WHITE STALLION COAL PROPOSAL CANCELLED," Sierra Club press release, February 15, 2013
  5. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed May 2009. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  6. Heather Menzies, "Group releases new coal study" Bay City Tribune, Sep. 22, 2010.
  7. " Coal-fired power plant awarded air permit despite emissions concerns, PennEnergy.com, September 30, 2010.
  8. "Proposed Power Plant Near Bay City Stirs Emotions" Kate Galbraith, New York Times, June 23, 2011.
  9. "Water Deal for Texas Coal Plant Postponed" Kate Galbraith, The Texas Tribune, June 15, 2011.
  10. "Texas drought endangers power projects" Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Associated Press, November 2, 2011.

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