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Denton, TX’s, Municipally Owned Utility Jumps to 40% Renewable Energy

by Rena Ragimova

The Achievement

In May 2009, Denton Municipal Electric (DME), the City of Denton, TX’s municipally-owned electric utility, entered into a multi-year power purchase agreement to purchase renewable energy from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. NextEra’s wind-generated electricity now accounts for 40 percent of DME’s energy portfolio on an annual basis, making Denton the top-ranked city for renewable percentile usage among those Texas cities served by a public power utility.

The deal was struck after eight months of negotiations and planning.  On May 1, 2009, NextEra began providing 60 megawatts of green energy to DME to supply its customers’ long-term power needs and meet the utility’s renewable energy objectives. 

The turbines themselves can be found at the Wolf Ridge Wind Farm located northwest of Muenster, TX, about 30 miles from Denton. In all, Wolf Ridge has 75 turbines capable of cranking out one and a half megawatts each. Construction of the facility was completed in 2008, four years after it was proposed.

The Key Steps

“This power purchase agreement is the result of months of diligence, hard work and a strong collaborative effort between the City of Denton, our city leaders and NextEra,” says Phil Williams, DME General Manager. “Adding this wind-based generation to the DME Power portfolio will help DME to maintain its low rates, which have been consistently below the north Texas deregulated market.”

The Benefits

  • “Diversifying our overall energy portfolio helps position our organization to better meet the future energy needs of our customers, while still maintaining affordable electric rates,” adds Williams.
  • A portion of the sale proceeds will be directed to NextEra’s EarthEra Renewable Energy Trust, where 100 percent of the trust will be used to build new renewable generation facilities.
  • DME customers looking for an even higher renewable mix can opt for the GreenSense program which uses RECs to achieve 100 percent renewable supply.
  • “As Mayor of Denton, I am excited to see DME take advantage of this opportunity to become green through purchasing renewable energy,” says Mayor Mark Burroughs. “Most cities are hoping to increase renewable energy standards over the next 10 years by 5 or 10 percent. Denton has demonstrated its leadership in green public power by making 40 percent of DME customers’ source of energy renewable right now in 2009!”
[Source: Denton Municipal Electric website]
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