RICHMOND, Texas – Nearly 100 firefighters from over 20 different fire departments worked to put out a fire at a power plant that started in Fort Bend County Sunday, officials said.
Firefighters responded to reports of a blaze at WA Parish Generating Station located at 2500 Y.U. Jones Rd. around 11:40 p.m.
NRG Spokesperson David Knox said the company is working at its other Houston-area plants to make sure those plants, “are available to make up for any lost power from the parish plant.”
Knox said the fire started at Unit 8, one of the coal stations. It is the same one used in the Petra Nova project, which is “the world’s largest post-combustion carbon-capture system,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Since this unit is offline, plant officials are working to make sure other Houston plants are operational to maintain high demand,
Plant officials said Unit 8 powers up to 12,000 homes on a hot day by making power and getting it on the grid. Nearly 15% of power at this facility comes from unit 8. The entire plant makes up about 4% of ERCOT’s grid.
The plant is asking people to do what they can to conserve power.
“The project is designed to capture 1.6 million tons of CO2 per year from an existing coal-fired power plant.”
According to officials, flames could be seen coming from one building as early as Sunday morning. Right now, it is unclear what the building is or what purpose it serves, investigators said.
Officials said no injuries have been reported. The fire is under control, and emergency and fire crews are checking for hot spots and any further extensions. The cause of the fire is still undetermined.
“Everything is secure. There is no danger to the community,” Knox said. “There is no danger to the environment. We made sure all of our employees are accounted for, all of them are safe, no injuries.”
“It has definitely been a team effort with our most pressing concern, of course, being for the safety of any employees and our first responders,” said Fort Bend County Judge KP George.
Loud noises could be heard at the site around 5 a.m., Knox said it is standard, “there’s a steam pressure in there, we’re going to be releasing the safety which is basically opening a vent which allows the steam to escape the station plant and it makes a lot of noise.”
WA Parish Generating Station is reportedly the second-largest conventional power plant in the United States. The facility is owned and operated by NRG Energy investigators said.
KPRC 2 has reached out to ERCOT and has released the statement below:
ERCOT continues to forecast sufficient supply of power to meet demand as unseasonably high temperatures remain in place across much of Texas. ERCOT will continue to deploy all available tools to manage the grid reliably and coordinate closely with the Public Utility Commission, generation resource owners and transmission utilities to ensure they are also prepared.