Columbia to serve two more power plants

Nov. 14, 2000—Columbia Gulf Transmission Co. will build a new 37-mile pipeline lateral off its interstate system to serve two gas-fired power plants in Warren County, Miss.

The pipeline project to cost about $20 million will provide firm gas transportation for a 1,300 Mw base load Baxter Wilson Plant owned by Entergy Mississippi Inc. and a 300 Mw peaking plant under construction by an unregulated wholesale affiliate of Entergy.

Columbia will provide up to 285 MMcfd of gas to the two power plants. With these two plants, Columbia will be serving a total of nine power plants mostly located in the Southeast.

“We are pursuing this market,” says Bob Kiser, spokesman for Columbia Gulf Transmission. “Just 4 years ago we didn’t serve one power plant.”

Serving the two new power plants means that Columbia has a potential peak day deliverability of more than 1 million Mcf/day. But most of this is summer load, says Kiser. He also points out that Columbia is not the sole provider of gas to the other seven other plants the company serves. Total throughput on the Columbia interstate system is 2.1 bcfd.

The new 20-in. diameter pipeline will run from Columbia’s mainline system near Delhi, La., to the plants south of Vicksburg, Miss. The pipeline is expected to be in service by May of next year.

Serving peaking power plants with gas is tricky. When the peakers need gas, they need it right then because some of those plants only run a few hours, on a few days, during the summer months, he explains.

Power industry participants say getting a firm but yet variable supply of gas for the legions of peaking plants being built is a big concern to the power industry. There is also talk that gas storage is not sufficient or responsive enough to the sudden and variable needs of peaking plants.

“It’s a careful balancing act. We must balance steady load with peaking demand,” Kiser says. “We hope that they aren’t all on at the same time.”