After the Denton City Council and municipal governing bodies in three other cities approved the deal, Gibbons Creek Steam Electric Station has been sold.
The Gibbons Creek Environmental Redevelopment Group “has been working with TMPA for many months on this purchase, and they have investigated many possibilities for the property’s future to maximize the value of the assets and improve the environment as well as contribute to the surrounding communities and the local economy,” said Bob Kahn, Texas Municipal Power Agency general manager, in a news release.
Denton City Council members in January adopted an ordinance approving the sale. That decision came after Denton’s Public Utilities Board recommended approval of the ordinance of the asset purchase agreement.
According to a city staff report distributed on Jan. 15, several options are being considered for redeveloping the 6,200-acre site that includes a mothballed coal-fired plant part-owned by Denton. The buyer plans to “redevelop the property in an environmentally conscious manner” to promote job creation and industry.
But those plans were a point of contention among council members on Jan. 26, when Paul Meltzer and Deb Armintor insisted on knowing details about how the buyer intended to use the property after it is remediated. Both voted against approving the asset purchase agreement. Mayor Gerard Hudspeth and council members Birdia Johnson, Connie Baker, Jesse Davis and John Ryan voted for it.
According to the release, the power plant will be razed, and possible uses include solar and energy storage use that maximize the existing transmission system and reservoir potential and reuse of the rail system there. The Gibbons Creek Reservoir RV Park and campground will remain open.
Redevelopment is expected to take three years.
In September, TMPA announced its intent to sell much of the Gibbons Creek Steam Electric Station site to GCERG, a subsidiary of Charah Solutions. The buyer would assume control of the offline power plant, cooling reservoir, associated landfills and ash ponds about 20 miles east of College Station. The sale does not include the mine and transmission system.
TMPA, created in 1975, has for years unsuccessfully negotiated the sale of the plant. The buyer plans to decommission the property in a move that would save Denton about $14 million over five years, according to city documents.
The Denton Record-Chronicle reported in June that officials with Denton and the other member cities — Bryan, Garland and Greenville — thought they had a buyer for the plant. But that deal fell apart.
Four years earlier, Denton Municipal Electric announced it wanted to end its involvement in the coal-fired operation by summer 2018. Denton and the other cities were unable to sell the plant, and they delayed decommissioning for at least two more years.
The plant went online in 1983. The purchase agreement provides that GCERG will make an initial payment of more than $6 million to TMPA, an escrow payment of $28.5 million and a $1.1 million performance bond.