Vistra: A company with the potential for green growth
Vistra is a holding company which subsidiaries are engaged in integrated retail and electricity generation, mainly in the US markets. After the pandemic, electricity demand fell sharply at first but returned to pre-crisis levels in November 2020.
Shift to green energy
The company was listed on the stock exchange in 2017. During the mentioned time, the company generated most of its energy from coal and gas but subsequently announced a new 30-year transition plan to produce renewable energy sources to expand the retail branch. It has gradually closed several coal power-fired plants and the rest of the coal-fired portfolio in the Midwest, and some older gas-fired power plants will follow by 2027. The company now has a relatively large portfolio of green and low-emission natural gas assets. An “environmentally friendly” business.
The company is currently introducing combined natural gas cycle equipment. It is a very efficient system with lower emissions than traditional gas steam turbine plants. Natural gas is a relatively pure fossil fuel that is abundant in the United States and will provide top capacity for society in the future. The further, the more natural gas reserves will be replaced by energy storage. This is the long-term strategy that the company is pursuing.
The attached chart shows the share of companies’ revenues from individual sources in 2021 compared to the company’s outlook in 2030.
Advantages/disadvantages of renewable energy
The cost of building electricity generation facilities, mainly in solar, wind and coastal regions, is significantly low. Renewables are excellent for basic capacity, but less for maximum capacity. Their big disadvantage is that customers cannot choose when the power is connected. One of the challenges for the future is equipment load balancing – the choice between consumption and energy savings.
Vistra currently generates 1.8 gigawatts of energy from renewable sources that are in operation or under development. The company plans to operate the facility for another 5 gigawatts by 2030.
Most interesting is the new project of the company to build the world’s largest battery, which is completing at its natural gas plant in Moss Landing, California. The battery has the potential to generate 300 megawatts, and another expansion of 100 megawatts is planned soon. When in use, the battery will represent 35-40% of the usable lithium battery capacity in the United States.