Over a month ago, I sent out the first SOS from Denton regarding the new power plan. We didn’t have much information at that time. Then we got a look at the Greenwashed Renewable Denton website and we still didn’t have much information but I put together what was available. I was labeled as a conspiracy theorist. Next we learned from a City Council agenda that a land purchase was on the agenda. They wanted to purchase nearly 167 acres for just one of the plants. Another SOS from Denton, and maybe this one is the one that brought me the conspiracy theorist label, I just can’t remember.
More information is surfacing all the time and the economics of this deal is looking worse. Denton folks should plan to attend the meeting from 2-4, Sunday at North Branch Library to learn more about the economics of the deal.
This month we will continue our series on the Renewable Denton plan. Discussion of this plan and exploration of alternatives is extremely important as we are considering long term high dollar commitments from the citizens and rate payers of Denton.
Tom “Smitty” Smith will discuss the economic and environmental advantages of a 100% renewable energy program in Denton.
The current “Renewable Denton” program proposed by Denton Municipal Electric includes the construction, at a cost of at least $225 million, of two auxiliary electricity generating plants using natural gas fueled engines to generate power. There are long-term concerns about the negative economic impacts and air pollution emissions of these facilities. Tom will address those concerns.
Tom is with Public Citizen and has been involved in Austin’s efforts to achieve 100% renewable energy sources.”
I’m going to ramble a bit and think out loud as I watch the Denton Council in their work session.
Natural gas prices will go up.
- As climate change impacts worsen, we will see more regulation of fossil fuels. This is already true with the proposed EPA methane rules. When those rules are finalized, the EPA is legally obligated to make rules for existing sources. The EPA recently added gas processing plants to the Toxic Release Inventory.
- All shale plays are in decline. The EIA forecasts continued and steepening decline even for the monster Marcellus that was supposed to keep us in gas for 100 years. New wells cannot keep up with the rapid decrease in production. The Barnett is not even included in this EIA report on the overall decline shale plays it’s no longer a big player. And, sure, technology will advance but not likely fast enough to keep pace with the renewable technology that the vast majority of America wants.
So shale is in decline and Denton wants to bet on shale with natural gas power plants. It seems like a good time to ask: How much fracking has to occur to feed the plants?
I am very lucky that I can ask super smart people questions and they will answer them. This question I asked of Cornell. After supplying some details about the kind of power plant, I got this back:
The recip. engines proposed are given a rating of 154.4 MMBtu/hr for each engine (so, 1852.8 for all 12 engines, HHV); assuming a dry gas heat rate of 1050 Btu/scf, the plant would require a feed of 1.76 MMscf/hr while operating at 100% capacity (40% capacity = 0.8 MMscf/hr). Summertime, the plant would more likely operate at full capacity, but rates will vary between the two values throughout the year.
All that translates into this:
According to Drllinginfo, the average Barnett shale gas well INITIALLY produces about 1.7MMscf/DAY, or about 0.07MMscf/hr. That number declines to about 0.03MMscf/hr after 1 year of production.
Therefore, if the gas was coming only from NEW wells (not possible, not illustrative), it would require 1.76/.07 = 25 wells to feed the plant. A year later, it would require about 58 wells. The required number of wells continues to rise over time, as well production declines.
How much will these plants really cost?
I’ve seen 2 figures, $220 million and 225 million and $250 million was mentioned at the council meeting. But those figures do not include the price of the land. I blogged about the land purchase previously. There will be another land purchase. The website costs $25k. Are you hearing the cha-ching? Thinking about the land purchase, made me wonder how much land do power plants need.
Now this is really curious. Natural gas power plants have a very small footprint. Why does Denton need 167 acres for just one of the 2 plants under consideration? Here is an 800-megawatt plant on a 30-plus-acre site. I would like to know what DME has planned for all that land.
That’s enough for now. The Council just broke to eat dinner after Greg Johnson asked a question about the environment but it had a misleading lead up.
I might update this later.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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In Texas there is little to NO protection from O&G operations for ordinary citizens who want quality of life residential living.
Do NOT invest a lot of money for a homestead.
Amen! I hate renting but I don’t want to buy in Texas.
Good info Sharon. Thanks
Sam Alexander says
I asked DME staff why it took so much land to build one of these. He said they MAY put solar there at some point. I ask if the 225 million plus covered the panels. The answer was NO.
Is it asking too much that they disclose why they need the land? Rhetorical question.
Sam Alexander says
A friend of mine shared the following info. I had done an open record and asked for the sales price of the power plant that was sold by the city of Denton to PG&E. The city refused my request and sent it for an attorney General ruling. They sold a power plant for 12 million. Now they want to replace it at a cost of 225 -250 million. But, here is the answer they refused to give me.
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D. C. 20549
[ X ] ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15 (d)
OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2001
COMMISSION FILE NO. 333-66032
On June 29, 2001, the Company contracted to supply the full service power requirements of the city of Denton, Texas, for a period of five years beginning July 1, 2001. The city of Denton’s peak load forecast is 272 megawatts in 2001, increasing to 314 megawatts over the contract term. The Company’s supply obligation to the city is net of approximately 97 megawatts of generation entitlements retained by the city, plus 40 megawatts of purchased power that the city has assigned to the Company for the summer of 2001. In connection with the power supply agreement, the Company acquired a 178 megawatt generating station and two small hydroelectric facilities from the city. The total consideration was approximately $12 million for this transaction.
Cathy McMullen says
This is a done deal unless more people become more vocal. In the hallway at city hall it was quite evident this is going to pass by December. Gregg Johnson stated people had a chance to become involved but because less than 200 people attended the DME sales pitch people must agree with the plan and have had their chance for input. Sounds like someone does not plan to run for re-election in May, kinda like Myra. One last kick in the pants before they leave office.
It’s obvious that Roden, Johnson, Hawkins and Dalton think they have all the information so their minds are closed.