Denton Municipal Electric
“Denton is changing the electricity generation paradigm by using renewables as our baseload power and then using highly efficient, quick-start generation, as needed when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. That’s where Wärtsilä and their flexible power generation comes in."
- Mike Grim, Executive Manager at
Denton Municipal Electric
Creating a power system that generates 70% of its electricity from renewable power sources is something most cities haven’t even thought of. The city of Denton, on the other hand, will have achieved this by 2019, thus making it a forerunner – not only in the USA but in the entire world – for such a sizeable integration of renewables into the supply. What makes this even more remarkable is that Denton is able to do this in an economically sensible way with the help of Wärtsilä’s ultra-flexible power plant.
The city of Denton has a population of
approximately 120,000 and is located
north of Dallas in the state of Texas.
With two universities and more than
45,000 students, it is often referred to
as a typical college city. Renewable
energy is important for both the city’s
residents and industrial consumers.
This is evidenced by the fact that
Denton has emerged as a national
leader in providing public power by
supplying 40% wind energy to every
customer, with no corresponding
increase in rates. However, 40%
wind is not enough for the people of
Denton, and the community together
with its decision makers, have put
together an ambitious program known
as the ‘Renewable Denton’ Plan.
This is aimed at enabling Denton
to increase its share of renewable
energy from 40% to 70% by 2019.
Creating a new business model
in utility power generation
“We want to flip the paradigm and
use renewables as the baseload,”
says Mike Grim, Executive Manager
of Denton Municipal Electric (DME).
Adding vast amounts of renewables
has many advantages for Denton. It
enables downsizing in the use of coal
and it lowers the city’s emissions
of greenhouse gases. However,
the main driver is that renewables
save money for the community
and adding renewables in Texas is
particularly sensible from a financial
perspective. Renewable power is a
very affordable choice thus lowering
the cost of electricity procurement
The fact that the wind
doesn’t always blow or the sun
doesn’t always shine means that
DME can either buy power from the
market or use the Wärtsilä plant to
cover the gap between its customer
load and supply from renewables.
Buying electricity from the market
is an affordable option, but comes
with a risk in form of potential price
“We needed a plant that can
respond quickly”, says Grim, referring
to the fact that Wärtsilä’s flexible and
fast-acting power plant enables DME to capitalise on price spikes in the
ERCOT market. This balances the
added cost of buying electricity from
the market subsequently lowering
the cost of generating electricity to
the city of Denton. DME’s energy
procurement strategy is something
new and very innovative. This
procurement optimisation strategy
with 70% renewables would not be
possible without Wärtsilä’s power
plant. This has also been noted and
confirmed in the Brattle Group report
that evaluated the Denton Renewable
plan for the City of Denton in June
Power system reliability
In addition to enabling DME to
profitably integrate 70% renewables
Wärtsiläs fast-acting plant also
provides valuable system services
for ERCOT when needed. “Wärtsilä’s
technology fits our needs perfectly
when it comes to balancing the
renewables,” says Mike Grim.
|| Denton Municipal Electric
|| Wärtsilä 50SG gas power plant
| Operating mode
|| Energy procurement optimisation,
|| 12 x Wärtsilä 18V50SG
| Total output
|| 225 MW
|| Natural gas
|| EEQ (engineered equipment delivery)
Read about the Denton success story in this brochure.
A brief guide to the technical features and performance of the Wärtsilä 50SG engine.
Find in-depth info about our gas and multi-fuel power plant solutions in this brochure.
If you want to know more about the Marquette project, please contact
Business Development Manager
US, Canada & the Caribbean
Wärtsilä Energy Solutions
+1 (281) 536-1444