Gibbons Creek Steam Electric Station

The coal-fired power plant at Gibbons Creek Steam Electric Station is owned by the Texas Municipal Power Agency, created by the cities of Denton, Garland, Bryan and Greenville to produce electricity. The plant is about 20 miles east of College Station.

After the Texas Municipal Power Agency this month approved an asset purchase agreement in the sale of a coal plant owned by Denton and other cities, City Council members here are scheduled to review the deal on Jan. 12.

“I’m for whatever arrangement best benefits the ratepayers of the city of Denton,” Mayor Gerard Hudspeth said.

In September, TMPA announced its intent to sell much of the Gibbons Creek Steam Electric Station to Gibbons Creek Environmental Redevelopment Group, a subsidiary of Charah Solutions. It will assume control of the offline power plant, cooling reservoir, associated landfills and ash ponds located about 20 miles east of College Station. The sale does not include the mine and transmission system.

Before TMPA can close on the sale, it must be approved by each of its community members — Denton, Greenville, Bryan and Garland.

“I’m just waiting to see what information comes out,” Denton City Council member John Ryan said. “The plant had outrun its usefulness. All sources of power kind of run their course. We have more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly sources of energy as time goes on.”

TMPA, created in 1975, has for years unsuccessfully negotiated the sale of the plant. But it appears to be getting closer to a deal with the buyer, which plans to decommission the property in a move that would save Denton about $14 million over five years, according to a city staff report released Friday.

“It’s a great relief to me that the purchaser is specifically coming on board to do the decommissioning,” council member Paul Meltzer said.

The Denton Record-Chronicle reported in June that officials with Denton and the other member cities 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.

“GCERG as owner of the real estate will determine future land use and redevelopment that is consistent with Grimes County limitations,” the city staff report states. “TMPA will appoint an environmental representative to monitor and audit site activities. Sale of Gibbons Creek represents a potential savings of $48.3 million to TMPA versus self-performance.”

Denton City Council members are expected to vote on an ordinance on the purchase agreement on Jan. 26, one day after members of the city’s Public Utilities Board consider a recommendation on the agreement.

The plant, which began operating in 1983, sits on 6,170 acres. 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.

According to Charah’s website, the Gibbons Creek Reservoir RV Park and campground will remain open.

PAUL BRYANT can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @paulbryant_DRC.

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