LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette Utilities System held a virtual public input forum on Monday to provide the results of its Integrated Resource Plan, which recommends that the Rodemacher Power Station be retired from coal-fired operation by 2027 when it will no longer be economically viable.
The online forum included a presentation from LUS and Burns & McDonnel, which is an engineering and consulting firm, that offered the analyses and preliminary results of the IRP, which is the first major step in determining the electric future for Lafayette and LUS.
The presentation concluded that the operation of the Rodemacher Power Station Unit 2 (RPS2) does not appear to be cost effective in the long term because of the amount of investment that would be required to follow environmental regulations along with ongoing maintenance costs in the next decade.
According to the presentation, LUS will also dramatically decrease its CO2 emissions in 2028 after the retirement of RPS2 from coal-fired power generation.
The main focus of the IPR was to determine whether LUS should continue coal-fired operations at RPS2, but not to specifically determine its potential replacement.
Ultimately, the decision to retire the coal-fired plant will be determined by governing bodies like the Lafayette City and Parish Councils, ratepayers and joint owners and environmental and state regulatory agencies like the EPA and LDEQ that would have to approve of retiring the RPS2.
Another recommendation of the IRP was the option on whether the RPS2 should be retired from electrical generation altogether after ending its coal-fired operation or be converted to a natural gas operation.
One other option from the IRP would be to take the existing Louis “Doc” Bonin Electric Generating Station and convert it into a simple cycle gas turbine facility to replace RPS2. The Bonin facility was retired from power generation in 2017, but is still used to house LUS staff.
The IRP also recommended that LUS consider the addition of renewable resources like solar power to its portfolio through power purchase agreements.
However, the IRP did not include a rate study or analysis, but one will be done once a formal decision is made with regard to RPS2.
According to Jeffrey Stewart, an LUS manager and one of the presenters, there are no immediate or pending plans to change the rate structure of LUS.
The next steps for LUS will include working with its joint owners to determine the future of RPS2 and any potential “end-of-life” options, and to begin engineering and feasibility studies for repurposing the Bonin Facility.
Stewart stated that the recommendation from LUS will be to retire RPS2 from coal fired generation and go through the regulatory approval processes from governing bodies.
The full IRP will be published after July 15 when the public feedback period ends.
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