Last fall, Denton Municipal Electric rolled out an ambitious plan to take advantage of the growing wind energy market in Texas — and perhaps walk away from its partnership in a coal-fired power plant that has provided Denton electricity for 30 years.
The initial plan included a proposal that the city spend about $220 million (that cost estimate has risen in the past six months and will likely rise more) to build two new natural gas-fired power plants. One would be erected west of Denton Enterprise Airport. The other has been proposed for a spot on Shepherd Road in eastern Denton, where a natural gas pipeline and power lines meet.
According to DME officials, those power plants would make it easier for the city to get the best price on contracts for wind and solar energy.
But that has proven to be a hard sell with some residents who would like to see the city move to energy from 100 percent renewable sources. They advocated for the city to hire an independent group to review the gas-plant plan.
City Manger George Campbell has recommended that the City Council hire the Brattle Group to perform the study. He places the international firm above Navigant, which performed a similar analysis for Austin that has been met with skepticism.
The Brattle Group’s website claims expertise with renewable energy and its effects on the electric market. We’ll see how the council reacts on Tuesday night, when the matter comes before them.