MORGAN CITY, LA — The Louisiana Energy and Power Authority (LEPA) announced it has completed the sale of $120,770,000 in revenue bonds for the final stage of design and construction of a new natural gas fired electrical power plant.
The plant, which will be located in Morgan City, will be a 64 megawatt nominal rated natural gas fired combined-cycle gas turbine generating plant (CCGT). The new plant is the first power plant to be built in the southern region of Louisiana in some 40 years.
“The CCGT technology is superior to conventional fossil fueled generating plants because of its higher efficiency, lower environmental impact, lower capital cost, and shorter construction time,” said Cordell Grand, General Manager of LEPA. “Because the plant is fuel efficient, it will help stabilize the cost of electrical power for these municipalities by minimizing the impact of fluctuations in natural gas rates,” Grand noted.
Six LEPA member municipalities: Morgan City, Houma, Jonesville, Plaquemine, Rayne and Vidalia, have committed to participate in the project by entering into long term power sales agreements for the plant’s power output. “The plant is expected to supply these municipalities with competitively priced electrical power that will reduce their reliance on older, more costly electric supply options,” said Grand.
“This project would not have been possible without the cooperation and hard work of these municipalities in jointly funding development of this project since 2010,” Grand said. LEPA expects to award a contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of the plant in January, 2014, with construction projected to begin in April, 2014 and completion in late 2015.
Tim Matte, a member of LEPA’s Board of Directors and former mayor of Morgan City, noted, “One of the primary drivers that led to the development of the plant was the fact that the transmission constraints in parts of Louisiana undermined purchase of low-cost power by the municipalities that operate their own electrical systems. Siting the plant near Morgan City and Houma’s load helps to mitigate those transmission constraints, and will actually allow the participating municipalities to export excess power from a once constrained region.”
The plant will be located adjacent to the Joseph Cefalu Municipal Steam Plant in Morgan City, and will be equipped with an emergency diesel generator to provide for the ability to restart the facility without relying on other generating facilities or external sources of power. To conserve treated water, the plant will utilize reclaimed water discharged from the nearby Morgan City Waste Water Treatment Plant. For fuel supply, a 1.3 mile, 8-inch natural gas pipeline will be constructed to interconnect the plant to the Texas Gas Transmission LLC pipeline.
LEPA has selected and is currently in the process of contracting the major equipment suppliers for the plant’s gas turbine generator, steam turbine generator, heat recovery steam generator and step-up transformers. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality issued environmental operating permits for the plant on September 23, 2013.
Created by the Louisiana Legislature in 1979, LEPA consists of 18 Louisiana municipalities that each maintain their own independent municipal electrical system. LEPA is a joint-action agency working to provide its member communities with firm, stable sources of electrical power at the lowest possible cost.
Since 1989, LEPA has entered into all-requirements power contracts with many of its members and has implemented a system operated through the use of a sophisticated, computerized Energy Control Center. Located in Lafayette, the Center dispatches electricity to all participating member cities simultaneously on the most cost-effective basis.