New York-based energy investment firm LS Power on May 8 said it has reached an agreement with Brazos Electric Power Cooperative to acquire 2,145 MW of natural gas-fired power generation in the ERCOT North region of Texas. The deal comes six months after a federal bankruptcy court judge approved Brazos’ reorganization plan, which includes a settlement with ERCOT partly funded by proceeds from Brazos’ selling of assets.
Brazos was among the Texas power generators that filed for bankruptcy due to costs associated with the February 2021 winter storm that caused widespread power outages across the state. State officials said the death toll from Winter Storm Uri was 246 in Texas, although some analysts said it was likely more than 700 deaths could be attributed to the storm.
LS Power will acquire the Jack County Generation Plant in Bridgeport, Texas. The plant features two baseload combined cycle power blocks with 1,297 MW of total generation capacity. In addition, LS Power will take over the 280-MW combined cycle Johnson County Power Plant in Cleburne, Texas.
The deal also includes the 568-MW RW Miller Plant in Palo Pinto, Texas. The Miller station includes four peaking units. The transaction is expected to close in early June after receiving regulatory approval.
LS Power late Monday said Johnson County and RW Miller “are dual-fuel resources with significant on-site fuel oil storage that provides important fuel security during periods of gas scarcity, while Jack County benefits from firm gas transport as well as firm storage arrangements.”
“We are excited to add these three projects to our generation portfolio as we continue to evaluate additional expansion opportunities in Texas,” said Nathan Hanson, president of LS Power Generation. “[With] these three generation projects we are acquiring provide critical, reliable energy supply to an ERCOT market that is experiencing continued load growth. These projects provide for considerable flexibility and operational redundancy, which are key to balancing the intermittency of renewables and supporting ERCOT’s reliability requirements.”
Hanson continued: “These Texas projects add geographic diversity to LS Power’s flexible fleet of generation assets and enhances the company’s diverse presence in ERCOT, which includes demand response through our CPower Energy Management platform and electric vehicle charging with EVgo.”
LS Power’s gas generation fleet will include more than 16 GW of capacity after the deal with Brazos closes. The company also owns more than 3 GW of wind, solar, hydro, and energy storage, as well as demand response, microgrids, renewable fuels, electric transportation and transmission infrastructure.
‘Market Volatility and Extreme Weather’
“Market volatility and extreme weather require a coherent path toward decarbonization—one that simultaneously embraces the deployment of low-carbon energy resources and the preservation of sufficient conventional energy infrastructure to ensure continued energy security, affordability and reliability,” said LS Power CEO Paul Segal. “LS Power’s portfolio and priorities reflect this approach.”
“These Texas projects add geographic diversity to LS Power’s flexible fleet of generation assets and enhances the company’s diverse presence in ERCOT, which includes demand response through our CPower Energy Management platform and electric vehicle charging with EVgo,” said Hanson.
Brazos filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2021 after receiving “excessively high invoices” related to the February 2021 storm. A judge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas in November 2022 signed an order for Brazos to pay $1.89 billion to ERCOT, out of the $2.1 billion originally billed Brazos by the power grid operator.
Brazos Electric is a 16-member power distribution cooperative serving more than 650,000 customers.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).