You might liken it to a divorce. Someone can buy out your ownership of the house, but the property and its function continue without you.
In Austin Energy's case, Fayette Power Project near La Grange is the house it doesn't want.
"I have approached LCRA verbally and asked them if they are interested in purchasing our piece out. We basically are not getting any response," Larry Weis of Austin Energy said.
The utility took a major step last month toward replacing its coal dependence with 570 megawatts of wind power per year. Weis says the utility also wants to add more solar to its portfolio.
"Utility scale solar costs tend to run more than double these wind contract costs. We are anticipating and hoping that solar costs come down," Weis said.
Weis says the best way to wean ourselves off of coal is to cut our energy use. One way is to make homes more efficient.
Coal critics want Fayette shut down by 2018.
"We are not asking them to turn it off tomorrow. It's a phased retirement," said Colin Clark of Austin Beyond Coal.
Clark said coal will cost energy companies nationwide a lot more soon.
The White House is reviewing the latest recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon emissions from coal plants.
Austin Energy plans to use more electricity from natural gas plants, but Clark said that also relies on another valuable Texas resource - water.
"Coal, natural gas and nuclear energy all require a lot of water to make the energy and to cool the power plants," Clark said.
The utility is exploring ways to harness wind energy, which peaks at night, and solar, which peaks in mid-afternoon, to balance energy demands around the clock.
But creating a sustainable system takes research, development and time.
Weis said Austin Energy could choose to sell its share of Fayette Power Project to a company that would otherwise build another coal plant in Texas.
However, he said, shutting the plant down will likely be up to LCRA and ERCOT, the organization that manages the state's power grid.