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Gibbons Creek power plant to be sold, decommissioned
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Gibbons Creek power plant to be sold, decommissioned

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The Texas Municipal Power Agency is finalizing an agreement to begin decommissioning the Gibbons Creek Steam Electric Station and Reservoir. 

The asset purchase agreement will mean that environmental and maintenance service provider Charah Solutions will acquire, remediate and redevelop the Grimes County coal plant. The company will provide turnkey environmental risk transfer services to remediate ash ponds and landfills and redevelop the property, according to a press release. The coal plant will not be restarted.

TMPA is owned by Bryan, Denton, Garland and Greenville and ran the plant from 1982 until 2018.

As part of the agreement, Charah Solutions, through its subsidiary Gibbons Creek Environmental Redevelopment Group, will take ownership of the 6,166-acre area that includes the plant, the 3,500-acre reservoir, dam and spillway and assume all environmental responsibilities. GCERG will shut down and decommission the coal power plant and complete all necessary environmental remediation work for the site landfills and ash ponds. 

“We are pleased to work with Charah Solutions to reduce the environmental risk and costs for TMPA and its member cities and ratepayers while redeveloping the plant and property to expand economic activity and support the tax base, including the Grimes County Schools,” Bob Kahn, TMPA General Manager, said in a release announcing the deal. “The transaction will save member cities millions in expenses associated with decommissioning and environmentally remediating the plant site.” 

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While GCERG’s plans for site redevelopment do not include restarting the coal plant, they do include “renewable energy, agricultural, commercial or industrial redevelopment opportunities.” The release said that the Gibbons Creek Reservoir RV Park and campground will continue to operate.

The Thursday announcement comes after TMPA had been negotiating with a buyer over the summer, who had been rumored to want to restart the plant. The coal plant had shown up on the state’s electricity grid manager Generator Interconnection Status Report with an in-service date of Nov. 1, meaning that it had been expected to be commercially operable by that date. At the end of August, the Sierra Club published an article stating that the interconnection agreement had been terminated. 

In July, officials said that since the plant had been closed since 2018, deadlines for steps associated with decommissioning were approaching at the end of this year and that they were motivated to sell the plant to avoid the high decommissioning costs, which would transfer to the new buyer in a sale.

Charah Solutions President and CEO Scott Sewell said in the Thursday press release that many utilities are in need of decommissioning older and less economically viable generating assets. 

“This is a perfect example of Charah Solutions providing a custom approach for these complex projects,” he said, “as we are able to provide not only the environmental remediation expertise needed to meet regulations but also bring the right partners to the table to redevelop the property while creating local jobs and lowering the cost for our utility partner.”

 

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