Louisiana regulators approve 994 MW, combined-cycle power plant

Entergy’s Entergy Louisiana on June 28 said that the Louisiana Public Service Commission has voted to approve construction of the Lake Charles Power Station, which is a 994 MW, combined-cycle power plant in Westlake.

The company said that it expects to issue full notice to proceed to construction by Aug. 1.

The natural gas-fired plant, which is scheduled to be in service by June 2020, will cost about $872 million to build, including transmission and other project-related costs and contingency, the company said.

As reported last November, the proposed project site in Westlake is near the company’s existing Nelson units. The Nelson site was chosen after multiple sites were considered based on a range of considerations related to reliability, cost, and technical feasibility.

The power station is expected to use existing infrastructure and resources at the Nelson site, including transmission and cooling water infrastructure. Generation from the resource is expected to interconnect with the Midcontinent ISO (MISO) system at a 138-kV, 230-kV, and/or a 500-kV transmission switchyard located at or near the Nelson site. Furthermore, the site is located close to large load concentrations, which improves reliability and reduces losses.

An Entergy spokesperson on June 28 told TransmissionHub that the company is still going through the MISO process, so all of the details concerning the electric transmission component of the project are not finalized. Entergy’s initial estimate put the cost at about $43 million to upgrade electric transmission equipment and build a new interconnection to the switchyard at Nelson, the spokesperson said.

Entergy Louisiana President and CEO Phillip May said in the company’s June 28 statement, in part: “The Lake Charles Power Station will supply the energy we need to help the communities and customers we serve prosper.

This plant will not only provide needed generating capacity for the fast-growing region, but it’s another step in our ongoing effort to upgrade Entergy Louisiana’s plants so they operate more efficiently, affordably and with fewer emissions.”

Entergy Louisiana said that because of the plant’s high efficiency, projections are that customers will save between $1.3 billion and $2 billion over the anticipated 30-year life of the plant. Customer savings are expected to exceed the project’s construction cost in less than 10 years.

Among other things, the company said that building the unit will lower costs by reducing dependence on aging and less efficient resources; improve reliability by locating the plant in a highly industrialized area; and avoid some $600 million of transmission projects that would otherwise be needed to maintain reliability in the Lake Charles region.

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Corina Rivera-Linares, chief analyst for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 10 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at corinar@pennwell.com .

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