Gas, New Projects

NRG Energy begins construction on natural gas peaking plant in Texas

NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG) has begun construction on a nearly 360-MW, natural gas-fired peaking plant at a site southeast of Houston.

When completed, the units will be utilized during times of peak demand. In addition, the facility will be built on a 230-acre site that formerly served as the home for the PH Robinson power plant.

The new Bacliff facility will use natural gas to power six GE (NYSE: GE) 7E, fast-start combustion turbines, which require no water for cooling. The gas turbines will be relocated from a site in Mississippi to a NRG-owned site in Texas; the site is also adjacent to the switchyard where NRG expects to connect to the transmission grid. With a fast-start feature, the units also have the potential to help integrate renewable power from wind and solar generation into the ERCOT grid. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved the air permitting process in August 2014.

The facility will be built by BTEC Turbines and Rockland Capital, the current owners of the Mississippi plant. BTEC will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

NRG will construct the project for approximately $400 per kilowatt.

“While Texas needs this additional, flexible power, the low price of power in the state makes it very difficult to finance and build new power plants,” said John Ragan, executive vice president of NRG and president of NRG’s Gulf Coast Region. “When economics allow us to build these additional units, NRG wants to be ready to bring them online as quickly as possible to meet the growing demand in Houston with new natural gas plants.”

Construction is anticipated to be completed in late 2015.