Louisiana awaits Cleco wind generation plan


Louisiana’s Cleco Power is expected to file paperwork with the Public Service Commission that calls for at least 1,000 MW of wind generation via Louisiana’s first wind farm, S&P Global reports.

The decision comes after Cleco built a wind turbine on the bank of Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville. The 60-foot high turbine, started up in 2011, was designed to provide test data to help Cleco determine the economic feasibility of using wind turbines to generate power in Louisiana. Cleco and the GNOEC are partners in the two-year test project. Equipment installed at the site will send data to Cleco via ethernet, and the power generated was to offset energy used at the New Orleans Expressway Commission’s Northshore Toll Plaza.

In January, Cleco Power released its proposed Integrated Resource Plan, or IRP, which claimed that reducing the operation of the company’s oldest coal-burning power plant and adding up to 1,400 MW of clean energy will save its electricity customers millions, while reducing air and water pollution.

In Louisiana, Windpower Engineering & Development reports, regulated utilities like Cleco are required to develop multiyear, fleet-wide generation plans. Based on a detailed modeling analysis, Cleco’s IRP spells out the benefits of reducing the operation of the Dolet Hills Power Station and acquiring up to 1,400 MW of renewable energy, which is Cleco’s modeling analysis confirms is the “most economic option,” with the potential to save customers as much as $40 million annually.

Six of Cleco’s generating facilities are natural gas-fired, while its 628-MW Madison 3 facility is fueled by petcoke/coal. Its 638-MW Dolet Hills facility is fired by lignite, while its 493-MW Rodemacher-2 facility operates on Powder River Basin coal.

According to S&P Global, the utility holding company submitted a redacted, “redline” version of its 2019 Final IRP Report to the LSPC August 30. On November 26, the LPSC staff in its own filing said that it had concluded that “in all material respects” Cleco had met its obligations under the requirements established in the IRP rules.

S&P has the full story.