Entergy’s New Orleans East power plant get final approval from council

The New Orleans City Council voted this week to approve construction of the New Orleans Power Station, a 128-megawatt unit composed of seven natural gas-fired reciprocating engines. This modern, efficient electric generating facility will support reliable service and essential grid stability, and help to support the inclusion of renewables into the company’s resource portfolio.

The plant, which is scheduled to be in service by January 2020, will cost approximately $210 million to build including transmission and other project-related costs and contingency. Entergy New Orleans expects to issue a full notice to proceed to the engineering, procurement and construction contractor this month.

“Two years ago, the council charged us with finding a solution to provide reliable, safe and affordable power generation following the deactivation of the former Michoud units,” said Charles Rice, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans. “We appreciate the council members and advisors looking at all of the facts before making a decision, and are glad they came to a reasonable conclusion regarding the need for this unit.”

Reciprocating engines are the same engines used extensively in cars and trucks. In addition, they include self-start capability, which enables the company to start the unit even when there is no power on the electric grid. Building the unit will:

  • Provide the ability to reach full power within minutes.
  • Provide a reliable source of peaking and reserve capacity.
  • Assist with grid stability and storm restoration by providing a local source of generation.
  • Lower emissions.
  • Use minimal groundwater.
  • Facilitate the inclusion of renewable resources.

“The city needs local, reliable power generation that is affordable for all of our customers, and this facility will provide just that,” said Rice. “There has been quite a bit of misinformation circulated over the last 18 months by opponents to the plant. However, as demonstrated by independent, third-party experts who testified during the council’s December evidentiary hearing, the unit is sound from economic, safety and environmental perspectives.”

The impact on the local economy will be significant. According to an analysis by Louisiana economist Dr. Loren Scott, the plant’s construction phase will:

  • Generate nearly $206 million in new business sales in Orleans Parish.
  • Generate more than $28 million in new household earnings for parish residents.
  • Generate an average of 92 jobs per year and pump nearly $983,000 in new sales taxes into the Orleans Parish treasury.

The plant will employ approximately 20 people once complete.