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Entergy breaks ground on $872 million power plant in Calcasieu - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Entergy breaks ground on $872 million power plant in Calcasieu

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Entergy Louisiana LLC has broken ground on a 994-megawatt electricity generation plant in Westlake.

Approximately $55 billion in new industrial construction projects has been launched in Southwest Louisiana since 2012, with billions more in capital investment planned over the next decade; this development is spurring the need for more electricity, according to the governor's office. 

Public officials and company brass led the ceremony at the construction site, located on Houston River Road near Entergy’s existing Nelson power plants and the $11 billion Sasol chemical complex that’s approaching completion.

According to a release from Gov. John Bel Edwards, for the new combined-cycle, natural gas-fired Lake Charles Power Plant, Entergy Louisiana will make an $872 million capital investment in a project that mirrors the St. Charles Power Plant that began construction west of New Orleans a year ago.

The Louisiana Public Service Commission approved the Lake Charles project in June 2017. Though the St. Charles and Lake Charles power plants initially will result in slight increases to ratepayer bills, each is expected to produce consumer savings of $1.3 billion or more – versus older technology – over the 30-year life cycle of the plants, the governor's office says.

In Calcasieu Parish, the Entergy Louisiana project will employ approximately 700 people at the peak of construction. The project will create 31 permanent new direct jobs, and Louisiana Economic Development estimates an additional 97 new indirect jobs will result, for a total of more than 120 permanent new jobs in Southwest Louisiana.

“We are truly blessed by the tremendous amount of new industrial construction and economic activity centered around Lake Charles,” Edwards said. “In addition to billions in private-sector investment, we are embarking on several hundred million dollars of public investment in road and port projects. Our commitment to improving our infrastructure is critical and serves as one of the primary reasons investors are flocking to Louisiana. We’re proud to support Entergy in this vitally important project to produce cleaner, more efficient power for residential and commercial ratepayers in Louisiana.”

Compared with older-generation, natural gas-fired plants, the new Lake Charles Power Plant will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 40 percent, according to the governor's office. The more efficient design of the plant will reduce fuel costs significantly, leading to the long-term savings for ratepayers, they say.

“The Lake Charles Power Station is another element of our plan to ensure there is an abundant supply of clean, affordable, safe and reliable energy available to meet the needs of our current customers as well as keep pace with Louisiana’s expanding economy,” Entergy Louisiana CEO Phillip May said. “The Lake Charles area is one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, thanks to the billions being invested in new and expanded facilities. Many groups and individuals, including the Louisiana Public Service Commission and the civic and community leaders of Calcasieu Parish, have helped us make this project not just part of a plan, but a reality. Our pledge to them is to continue following the blueprint to create a bright future for Louisiana.”

By 2020, when the new Lake Charles Power Plant begins operating, the Southwest Louisiana region will surpass 300,000 in population for the first time, with metro Lake Charles achieving record population of more than 200,000 people, state economic development officials predict. 

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