Entergy Texas Inc. on Oct. 10 officially announced its application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) for the construction of 993-MW Montgomery County Power Station, a combined-cycle natural gas unit at the existing Lewis Creek power plant site.
“I’m proud that Entergy Texas is making this landmark investment to meet future needs,” said Sallie Rainer, president and CEO of Entergy Texas in the Oct. 10 statement. “The Montgomery County Power Station is an investment in modern technology that will save our customers $1.7 billion over 30 years by reducing our reliance on energy markets.”
By utilizing modern combined-cycle gas turbine technology, the project will reduce fuel costs and provide reliable power. These fuel savings will pay off the cost of construction after only 10 years of operation – a third of the plant’s lifecycle, the company said.
Located next to Entergy Texas’ Lewis Creek power units on the Lewis Creek Reservoir, this site already has some of the needed infrastructure to support a new power station. The Lewis Creek units will remain in service as the new unit comes online. This 993-MW new plant will use state-of-the-art emission control technology to lower air emissions. Two gas-fired generating units were installed at Lewis Creek in 1970 and 1971 and are still in operation.
Additionally, the project will provide benefits to the local economy. Estimates indicate that construction will provide more than 2,800 direct jobs in Texas and nearly $1 billion in economic activity for the regional economy. Once operational, the plant will provide approximately 25 permanent direct jobs in Texas.
Pending approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas, Entergy Texas is proposing to begin construction in the first quarter of 2019. Entergy Texas expects the plant to be in service by summer 2021.
The application gives the project size as 993 MW (nameplate) and 923 MW (summer rating). The current overall cost estimate of the Montgomery County Power Station is $937.3 million, which is inclusive of the estimated costs of transmission upgrades, contingency, an allowance for funds used during construction, and expenses related to obtaining commission certification.
Major sections of the application were filed under seal, so many of the project details are lacking from the public record. Indications are this is a 2×1 project featuring two combustion turbines and one steam turbine.
Said a report from an independent monitor filed along with the application: “Entergy Texas, Inc. (‘ETI’) plans to file an application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas for authorization to construct the Montgomery County Power Station, a nominal 993 MW 2×1 combined cycle gas turbine (‘CCGT’) unit to be constructed at ETI’s Lewis Creek plant site in Willis, Texas. The project was selected as a result of ETI’s 2015 Request for Proposals for Long-Term Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine Capacity and Energy Resources and Limited-Term Capacity and Energy Resources for Entergy Texas, Inc.”
The Texas commission on Oct. 11 referred this docket to the State Office of Administrative Hearings and requested the assignment of an administrative law judge to conduct a hearing and issue a proposal for decision, if such is necessary in the event one or more issues are contested by any parties to the case. Parties need to file with the commission a list of any issues to be addressed in the docket by Oct. 21. The commission will consider and possibly adopt a preliminary order in this docket in the open meeting currently scheduled to convene on Nov. 10.
Entergy Texas provides electricity to more than 430,000 customers in 27 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corp. (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 MW of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 MW of nuclear power.