Entergy New Orleans has proposed building a $216 million natural gas-burning power plant in New Orleans East that will provide power during peak demand periods and post-storm repairs.
On Monday, the company applied to the City Council for approval to build the 226-megawatt plant at the site of its 1960s-era Michoud power plant. Entergy deactivated two aging Michoud units this month, a decision driven largely by the equipment’s rising maintenance costs. Keeping the less-efficient units operating would have cost nearly as much as building the new plant, the company said.
One megawatt is enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.
The proposal puts power-generating capacity back in Orleans Parish, which could improve reliability after a storm, said Gary Huntley, Entergy New Orleans’ vice president of regulatory and governmental affairs.
The plant would typically operate about 15 percent of the year.
“The hottest days, when the temperature is above normal and you need extra power for the city, this plant is one that you can start very quickly, within minutes,” he said.
The proposal comes three months after Entergy completed $30 million in upgrades to the city’s electric power transmission system. That work, along with the proposed natural gas-fired combustion turbine plant, would improve reliability and increase transmission capacity, company officials say.
Deactivating the two Michoud units meant losing about 781 megawatts of local generating capacity. The application is the first time in more than three decades that Entergy has sought permission to build a new, local power-generating unit.
The new plant has been discussed in public meetings for more than a year.
Entergy asked the City Council for a decision by January. If it’s built, the plant’s cost will be passed on to customers following a negotiation with the City Council.
Entergy New Orleans, a subsidiary of utility giant Entergy Corp., provides electricity to more than 198,000 customers and natural gas to more than 106,000 customers.
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