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Even as the official retirement date of the Trinidad Power Plant nears, work progresses on a solar farm at Forest Grove.

The actions are common as a nationwide shift continues from gas-powered plants to solar energy.

The Trinidad location is a 235-megawatt plant that has been around since 1965. Luminant informed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Nov. 30 that the plant would close April 29.

The Trinidad plant could supply electricity to 49,000 homes at its peak. According to Luminant, the plant had a long history for safety, stating at one point that it had a record of more than 35 years without a lost time injury and 21 years without an OSHA reported injury.

In the post World War II era, natural gas plants became the most common in the industry. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas-fired generators accounted for 43% of operating electricity generating capacity in the United States in 2019. The generators provided 39% of electricity generation in 2019, and this is more than any other source.

But in recent years an increase of solar and nuclear power plants have arisen to compete for a share of the market.

As the Trinidad plant becomes history, Vistra, an Irving based company is building two plants in Texas, one in Rusk County and the other about seven miles northwest of Athens at Forest Grove.

“So, while the way we produce electricity is changing, our essential role in the process and core mission will not,” said Curt Morgan, Vistra President and CEO.

Vistra is constructing a massive, 200 MW solar farm expected to become operational in 2022 in an area once known for the extraction of lignite coal.

A 200 MW farm can cover about 2,000 acres.

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