Combined Cycle, Gas, Gas Turbines, New Projects, News

Entergy’s new 980-MW Lake Charles gas-fired plant operational three months ahead of schedule

Entergy Corp. has put its newest combined cycle gas turbine power plant into operation Louisiana.

The 980-MW Lake Charles Power Station began commercial operation this past weekend. The $872 million project provides cleaner emitting electricity as Entergy phases out its coal-fired, oil and older natural gas power portfolio.

Phillip May, CEO of Entergy Louisiana, noted that Lakes Charles Power Station was completed well ahead of its previously scheduled June start of operations. The power plant is in Westlake, La.

“It’s a huge win for our customers,” May added. “Not only does the addition of this plant make our generation portfolio, which was already one of the cleanest in the nation, even cleaner, but it also supports system reliability and produces substantial customer savings.”

Combined-cycle gas turbine units like the Lake Charles Power Station emit on average about 40 percent less carbon dioxide than Entergy’s older natural gas-powered units, the company says. Because of the plant’s high efficiency, it has been projected customers will save between $1.3 billion and $2 billion over the anticipated 30-year life of the plant.

St. Charles Power Station (now J. Wayne Leonard) (photo courtesy Entergy)

Lake Charles is one of three new CCGT plants that Entergy is having built in recent years. All of them ­- including Lake Charles, the recently completed St. Charles (renamed as the J. Wayne Leonard Power Station) and Montgomery County, Texas – all will be powered by MHPS turbines, with the Montgomery County being the last of the three under construction and the first new Entergy power plant in Texas for decades, according to reports.

Construction began on the Westlake facility in August 2017. At its peak, construction of the plant employed approximately 1,100 people, while ongoing operations of the plant will employ approximately 30 people.

Over the past 15 years, Entergy has added approximately 8,500 MW of combined-cycle gas turbine generation, allowing for the deactivation of over 6,500 MW of older, less efficient gas or oil units.

Entergy Louisiana provides electricity to more than one million customers. Altogether, Energy Corp. owns and operates close to 30,000 MW of electric generating capacity for nearly 3 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

(Rod Walton is content director for Power Engineering and POWERGEN International. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and [email protected]).