Entergy (NYSE:ETR) officially dedicated its 560-MW Ninemile 6 combined-cycle natural gas plant in Louisiana on Jan. 26.
The facility actually began commercial operation Dec. 24.
“Ninemile 6 represents a cornerstone of Entergy’s long-term plan to modernize our generation fleet and help meet our customers’ growing need for safe, affordable and reliable power,” Phillip May, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana said in a statement.
Entergy Louisiana owns the new 560-MW unit. Entergy Gulf States Louisiana and Entergy New Orleans will purchase 25% and 20% respectively of the new unit’s generation.
The unit’s combined-cycle gas turbine technology uses 30% less fuel than existing natural gas combustion units, and it employs modern pollution controls, Entergy said.
The unit is projected to reduce fuel costs by approximately $50m in 2015 and $69m in 2016 for Entergy Louisiana, Entergy Gulf States Louisiana and Entergy New Orleans customers.
Ninemile 6 was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. The plant cost approximately $655m to build, substantially below its original budget of $721m. Nearly 830 workers were employed at the peak of construction. Entergy has added 21 permanent positions to staff the unit.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission approved a settlement in the spring of 2012 that cleared the way for construction of the plant.
“Entergy’s Louisiana companies need more generating capacity to satisfy the demand of the state’s rapidly expanding economy as well as continue modernizing our fleet,” May said.
Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE:CBI) was a primary contractor on the project.
Ninemile 6 will replace Ninemile units 1 and 2, which came online in the early 1950s and have been deactivated, according to an Entergy website.