Denton Municipal Electric (DME) is an electric utility leader that provides reliable energy services to its customers while continually increasing the use of renewables, energy conservation, and demand response technologies. DME is a vertically integrated utility, meaning it owns and controls all functions of generation, transmission, and distribution within its domain of operation.
Denton Renewable Resource Plan
On February 6, 2018, the City Council adopted the Denton Renewable Resource Plan (DRRP) (PDF), which set a goal to have 100% of Denton's energy load under renewable energy contracts by 2020. While Denton had already made a commitment to increase the City's renewable portfolio, the DRRP represented an actionable plan to help Denton in our efforts to reach 100% renewable.
The background on the decision to set a goal of 100% goes back to the priorities of the Denton community. The City's Simply Sustainable Plan (PDF) lays out a goal to invest in renewable energy, and Denton, through DME, has been a renewable energy leader for many years, including implementing a landfill gas to energy project in 2008, purchasing wind energy through purchase power agreements as early as 2009, and offering rebates for residential and commercial solar installations.
For Denton, the recent decision to go 100% renewable was about both environmentalism and economics as renewable energy development has expanded, creating enough affordable and clean energy that Denton can set a very realistic and achievable goal to be 100% renewable.
The DRRP targeted having 100% of the projected city electrical demand under contract by the end of 2020 with no firm date on actual deliveries. This is due to the fact that DME is contracting for renewable energy from resources that are under construction or planned to be constructed. DME has achieved the goal of the DRRP and anticipates that in 2021 renewable energy delivered to Denton will be greater than the city's annual energy demands, making Denton a 100% renewable energy community.
Denton Energy Center
As a rapidly growing city, Denton's demand for energy is also growing. DME continues to contract for additional supplies of renewable energy to keep up with this growing demand. DME recognizes that keeping electricity affordable is equally as important as protecting the environment is also extremely important. The Denton Energy Center, a 225 Megawatt fast-starting natural gas facility, is a critical component of DME's supply portfolio that enables us to control costs.
The Denton Energy Center acts as an insurance policy to ensure that electric supplies are available when the intermittent renewable resources are not available. More importantly, it insulates DME customers from wholesale market price spikes that would otherwise have to be passed on to customers.
Current resources already delivering physical energy:
- Whitetail/Wolf Ridge/Nextera Wind (30 megawatts)
- Landfill (1.6 megawatts) (See Note 1)
- Bluebell I Solar (30 megawatts)
- Santa Rita Wind (150 megawatts)
Note 1: Landfill generator decommissioned at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2020 to 2021.
Future Resources contracted, but scheduled for delivery in this or in a future year:
- Bluebell II Solar (100 megawatts, expected to come online December 2020)
- Longdraw Solar (75 megawatts, expected to come online December 2020)
- Samson Solar (75 megawatts, expected to come online June 2022)
DME's Load Served by Energy Source
DME & the Electric Reliability Council of Texas
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid; which is a nonprofit grid operator that ensures reliable electric service for 90 percent of the state of Texas and is regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Since DME operates and represents consumers within the ERCOT region, it is subject to the criteria set forth in the ERCOT Bylaws.
Generation to Switch
Oftentimes, flipping a switch to turn on the lights is taken for granted. For most people, how electricity travels through the electrical grid is not something that is thought about, especially since it can be a bit complex and difficult to understand. The following is a summary explaining the basics of how electricity gets to your property when and where you need it:
- The City of Denton obtains its electricity from generation sources like wind, solar, natural gas, and methane gas; once the electricity is generated, it is pushed onto with the transmission system
- DME wholly or jointly owns the transmission lines within the city of Denton that are used to move high-voltage (138 kilovolt (kV)) power from generation sources to substations
- At this point, substation transformers provide a high voltage step-down process from 138 kV to 13.2 kV before electricity leaves the substation through distribution lines
- This process is essential because it allows electricity to be safely delivered to homes and businesses through lower-voltage distribution lines
- There are currently 17 substations within the city of Denton
- Similar to transmission lines, distribution lines carry the step-down voltage (13.2 kV)
- Like substation transformers, distribution transformers reduce the voltage again to 120/240 volts as required by homes, businesses, and schools within neighborhoods and a service wire is then installed to deliver electricity to a meter
- After a service wire is installed, meters are needed to measure the electricity that flows in and out of facilities; metering data allows DME to measure and forecast the electric needs of its customers
Simplified Representation of the Network
The following diagram is a simplified representation of DME’s electrical network: