Agreement reached

The Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA), which includes the local electric utility system, has agreed to sell the shuttered Gibbons Creek coal-fired generating station.

The Texas Municipal Power Agency, which includes the local electric utility system, has agreed to sell the shuttered Gibbons Creek coal-fired generating station.

The plant will not be restarted but will be decommissioned and the surrounding property will be redeveloped, according to a press release issued Thursday morning.

Charah Solutions Inc. announced it is negotiating an Asset Purchase Agreement with the TMPA to acquire, remediate and redevelop the Gibbons Creek Steam Electric Station and Reservoir in Grimes County.

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 closed power station, the 3,500-acre reservoir, dam and spillway and assume all environmental responsibilities. GCERG will be responsible for the shutdown and decommissioning of the coal power plant as well as performing all environmental remediation work for the site landfills and ash ponds.

In July, GEUS General Manager Alicia Price said the TMPA had a sale pending for the site, despite pleas to keep the plant in operation.

A group known as the Brazos Valley Citizens Climate Lobby filed a petition with the TMPA board, after learning of a potential buyer for the plant located just outside of Bryan.

 “We are hearing the concerns of these citizen groups,” Price said at the time. “Negotiations for the sale of the plant are ongoing and as such we are limited in regards to the information we can share at this time. As of today, it is unclear when a sales agreement may be reached.”

The TMPA is comprised of the electric utility systems in Greenville, Bryan, Garland and Denton and had operated the plant, which provided power to each the communities. The cities have been members of the TMPA since its creation in 1975.

The utilities had come to rely less and less on Gibbons Creek as the prices of natural gas and alternative energy sources, such as solar, have declined substantially.

GEUS had not been connected to the plant since September 2018.

The GEUS board and the Greenville City Council voted in 2016 to approve a new joint operating agreement with the TMPA, setting the stage for the pending sale of the facility. The agreement included provisions for creating a plan for shutting the plant down if it can’t be sold, selling the plant for salvage and eventually selling the land.

During the GEUS board of trustees meeting in June, Price noted the cost of decommissioning the plant, which was close to $8.8 million during the current year, would rise to $17.7 million in 2021.

GEUS still retains a 10 percent ownership interest in the plant.

The Gibbons Creek Reservoir RV Park and campground will continue to operate under the agreement as Thursday’s announcement indicated it is a very popular recreational destination for local lake enthusiasts, regularly drawing over 200 people per day.

“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,” said Bob Kahn, TMPA General Manager. “The transaction will save member cities millions in expenses associated with decommissioning and environmentally remediating the plant site.”

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