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Entergy Cleared to Build Nearly $1B NatGas Power Plant in Louisiana

The Louisiana Public Service Commission this week approved construction of a 994 MW natural gas-fired power plant to serve a heavily industrialized area in the Lake Charles region where petrochemical and gas export projects are growing.

Entergy Louisiana LLC spokesman Michael Burns said the company expects to begin site clearing in the fourth quarter, with construction scheduled to start in 1Q2018. The combined-cycle plant, which could in service by 2020, is expected to cost $872 million to build, including transmission and other related expenses, the company said.

The subsidiary of publicly traded Entergy Corp. said the commission's approval would help with ongoing efforts to upgrade its fleet for more affordable and efficient operations. The project would also allow the company to avoid spending about $600 million for transmission projects that would be needed to maintain reliability in the region without a new plant of its kind.

The Lake Charles Power Station would be constructed in Westlake, about four miles west of Lake Charles in south Louisiana's Calcasieu Parish.  Combined-cycle plants use gas and steam turbines together to produce more energy from the same fuel compared to a traditional simple-cycle plant. Heat from the gas turbine is sent to a steam turbine to generate extra power, utilizing heat that would otherwise exit through an exhaust stack.

Because of the facility's expected efficiencies, customers are expected to save $1.3-2 billion over its anticipated 30-year life cycle. Those savings are expected to exceed the project's construction costs in less than 10 years, the company said. The plant would employ 30 people once it's in service.

Entergy Corp. owns and operates power plants with 30,000 MW of generating capacity and delivers electricity to 2.9 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. 

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