Denton Joins With Utilities and Cities To Buy Solar, Sierra Club Hopes To See Resulting Close of Gibbons Creek Coal Plant

November 15, 2018

 

The City of Denton is joining with other public utilities in two new contracts for the purchase of electricity from solar energy farms.

The success of the solar purchase project implies that the Gibbons Creek coal plant could be nearing the end of its usefulness.

Denton entered a joint arrangement earlier this year with Greenville Utilities Commission, Bryan Texas Utilities, Garland Power & Light, New Braunfels Utilities and the City of Kerrville in requests for proposals from potential solar energy suppliers.

That led to more than three dozen responses, according to the Sierra Club, which is working with Denton to increase alternative energy supplies with a goal of 100% renewable energy.

This week, Denton city council unanimously approved two contracts.

One is a 75 MW of project called Samson, to be located 100 miles northeast of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area in Lamar County.

It’s expected to be operational, with Bryan and Garland also participating, by June 2022.

The other contract is for a 225 MW facility called Long Draw Solar, about 280 miles west of Denton in Borden County.

It’s expected to be operational, with participation from Kerrville, Garland and New Braunfels, by June 2020.

For the Sierra Club, moving away from coal use is also a goal.

The 485 MW Gibbons Creek coal plant near Bryan-College Station has been operating sporadically over the past few years.

The plant is jointly owned by the Cities of Garland, Bryan, and Denton, the plant has only been operating during the summer months.

There have been attempts, so far unsuccessful, to sell the plant.

In response to the Denton council vote, Sierra Club Conservation Director Cyrus Reed said his group looks forward to “working with all cities to increase their use of renewables on the grid, and also invest in local energy solutions like community solar, energy efficiency, storage, and demand response.”

And Chrissy Mann, Senior Campaign Representative with the Texas Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said, “We hope the cities that own Gibbons Creek will agree to permanently retire it as soon as possible, begin reclamation, and work with the local community for a just transition for its workers.”