Entergy Corp. subsidiary Entergy Texas Inc. announced plans Monday to build a 993 MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle unit at its existing Lewis Creek Reservoir site in Montgomery County, north of Houston.

Entergy Texas filed an application Monday with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) to construct the facility, dubbed the Montgomery County Power Station.

“We are focused on serving our customers and communities now and into the future. I’m proud that Entergy Texas is making this landmark investment to meet future needs,” Entergy Texas CEO Sallie Rainer said. She added that the project is expected to “save our customers $1.7 billion over 30 years by reducing our reliance on energy markets.”

Entergy Texas, based out of The Woodlands in Montgomery County, said the plant, using a combined-cycle gas turbine, would lower emissions and save enough on fuel costs to pay for its construction after the first 10 years of a 30-year life cycle.

The plant would be located next to existing power units at the Lewis Creek site. The other power units would continue running as the new power station is brought online, the utility said.

Pending PUC approval, Entergy Texas has proposed a construction start date in early 2019 with an in-service date of mid-2021.

Construction would create 2,800 direct jobs and close to $1 billion in regional economic activity, and the plant would provide 25 permanent direct jobs, the company said.

Low natural gas prices have spurred coal-to-gas switching among utilities across the United States, with gas overtaking coal for total share of the nation’s electric generation starting last year. The Energy Information Administration said last week that this trend has also coincided with lower residential electric bills (see Daily GPI, Oct. 7).

Entergy Texas serves 430,000 customers in 27 counties. Parent company Entergy owns roughly 30 GW of electric generating capacity and provides electricity to 2.8 million customers across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.