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Tradinghouse power plant boiler demolished
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Tradinghouse power plant boiler demolished

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One of two boilers at the Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir power plant near Hallsburg was demolished early Friday.

The structure was imploded about 9 a.m., leaving a heap of metal and rubble. The demolition is part of Luminant’s plan to dismantle the gas-fired power plant, a process which began last fall.

“We felt the best thing we could do as a good neighbor is to come in and remove the structure so that in the future this land can move on to its next productive use,” Luminant spokeswoman Meranda Cohn said in an email.

Luminant will recycle about 95 percent of the materials, including steel and copper parts that will be melted down and used for other purposes, Cohn said.

Crews began cutting down metal into smaller pieces for recycling after the implosion, she said. Luminant also will salvage some equipment to be used at other plants, she said.

The second boiler will be imploded in the future, though a date has not yet been set, Cohn said.

The plant, which began operations in 1970, was shuttered in 2010 because the technology it used was inefficient and costly. For the decade leading up to its closure, it was only used to supplement the power grid during energy-use peaks in the summer.

New plans for the site have yet to take shape. Luminant received a permit to build two natural gas combustion turbines on the site, but Cohn said the company would only build them if market conditions improve. If built, the turbines would generate between 420 and 460 megawatts of electricity, she said.

Rick Wegwerth, who has lived near the plant for decades, saw the demolished structure Friday. He said he hopes the plans for new turbines come to fruition quickly.

“Natural gas is one of the cleanest forms of electricity,” Wegwerth said. “McLennan County needs the tax base, and Hallsburg ISD needs the tax base, so a clean gas-fired plant would be perfect there. The infrastructure is already there.”

Hallsburg ISD Superintendent Kent Reynolds called the boiler’s demolition “a welcome sight.”

The district passed a $2.4 million bond last November to add classroom space and replace its gymnasium, so if Luminant were to build a new plant at Tradinghouse, the district may be able to pay off its debt sooner, or lower taxes for the community.

“Anything put there would raise our tax base, so it would definitely help out,” Reynolds said. “We’re always looking for progress.”

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