The Texas-based company Vistra recently announced that they will close six coal power plants and cut their coal generating capacity from nearly 12 GW to 5 GW by 2027, moving the company towards a more Paris aligned future. Vistra will also add around 1 GW of solar plants coming online by the end of 2022.

Currently, coal represents 30% of Vistra’s total operating capacity and includes plants that are scheduled to be offline within the next seven years including the Baldwin and Joppa power plants, which now have a phase-out date of 2025 or sooner, and the Kincaid, Miami, Newton and Zimmer power plants by 2027 or sooner [1].

Even though we congratulate Vistra for reaffirming their commitment to a more sustainable and emissions-free future, they still have work to do. We look forward to seeing Vistra reduce its reliance on coal generation in a manner consistent with the temperature goal in the Paris Agreement.

To be aligned with Carbon Tracker’s Paris alignment methodology, coal power utilities need to provide:

  1. An unabated coal unit retirement schedule consistent with a credible climate scenario; and
  2. A retirement date assigned to each unabated coal unit.

Based on Vistra’s announcement, we can reassess their alignment with a retirement schedule needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement [2].  By retiring the above-mentioned coal plants, Vistra will improve under our methodology, its coal-powered generation capacity alignment with the Paris Agreement to 70% from previously 30% and the company has now assigned a retirement year to 73% of its coal fleet from 9% previously.

However, only 36% of coal units have announced retirement dates that fit within our well below 2 degree alignment schedule. We recommend hastening the retirement of the Kincaid and Joppa plants.

Source: Carbon Tracker

A looming question for Vistra is about its gas power generation, which represents 60% of its portfolio. The company has not yet assigned a retirement date to this capacity, where we find that more than 4 GW of Vistra’s natural gas capacity will be unaligned with the goals of the Paris agreement by 2030 and more than 12 GW will be unaligned by 2040.

To see our full analysis please go to: Energy Corp


[2] Energy Corp