TXU buyers announce plans for two coal-gasification plants

The private firms that proposed a $45 billion buyout of Texas coal giant TXU continue to make some hearts go pitter-pat. After announcing that TXU would scuttle plans for all but three new coal-fired power plants, the firms added Friday that they would look into building two coal gasification plants — facilities that use a chemical process to gasify coal and can then capture and store carbon dioxide. Ooh, “clean coal”! Progressive thinking! Right? Well, those keeping score at home might notice that the news turns three coal plants into … five. Sneaky. “We’re going to take it at face value, and say this is a huge step forward for the climate and power plant technology here in Texas,” said Tom Smith, head of the Texas office of Public Citizen. Meanwhile, foes of TXU and of the deal are keeping a wary eye on things. “The agreement has a lot of loopholes in it,” said Karen Hadden of the Austin-based Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition. “We’ve got no reason to trust their promises.”