Entergy will again seek regulatory approval from the City Council for a new power plant to replace outdated units taken off line last year in the Michoud area. After suspending its original application from June 2016 earlier this year, the utility has amended its New Orleans Power Station proposal to include two options: its original generation unit and a smaller one as an alternative.
The company filed its amended application with the council Thursday (July 6), asking for its regulatory approval by the end of October. Council members will consider the original 226-megwatt plant and a 128-megawatt version, both natural gas-fueled "peaking" units that would only be used during periods of high power demand. It's expected the new plant would only be needed to supply additional power through the hottest summer months or during disaster recovery when power transmission from outside sources of electricity isn't available to the city.
"The sooner we get this unit constructed, the more conformable we'll be about the reliability of the system," Charles Rice, CEO of Entergy New Orleans, said in an interview Friday.
Entergy believes the 226-megawatt option is still the best for the city's long-term needs, based on the utility's 20-year projection of local power demand, Rice said. Critics of the project have said the demand forecast is not accurate. Environmentalists have raised concerns about the plant's use of groundwater, which research has deemed a possible cause of land subsidence in New Orleans East.
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