Cleco building new plant

PINEVILLE – Cleco recently began preparation for construction of a new power unit at its existing Teche Power Station (Teche) that will strengthen the reliability of its system and provide blackstart or startup power to its power generating fleet. The 33-MW unit is expected to cost approximately $31 million, and construction of the unit is expected to be completed in the second quarter 2011. The new generator will be the fourth unit at the Teche plant site.

“We are building Teche 4 to serve as our blackstart unit,” said Keith Crump, Cleco Power group vice president. “It takes less than 30 minutes for this unit to power up and provide startup power to our existing Teche units in the event we had to restart our power plants after a hurricane or we experience a major disruption on our electric system.”

Federal regulations require that Cleco have a blackstart plan. A blackstart plan describes how a utility would restore its system if it was separated from the regional transmission grid, experienced a blackout or had to restart its power generation facilities. Cleco’s current blackstart unit is located two miles from Teche, which requires the electric system that connects the two facilities to be operational for electricity to reach the power station.

Teche 4 also has the capability of providing peaking or “as needed” generation within all of Cleco’s system. Peaking power is used to help meet customer power needs during peak or high demand times. This power could be particularly helpful in the Acadiana Load Pocket. The Acadiana Load Pocket is an area defined as south of Highway 190 to the Gulf of Mexico, west of the Atchafalaya Basin and east of Jennings. This area has experienced transmission congestion in past years because of increased power demand due to area growth.

“Locating this unit at Teche benefits our customers through even more reliable power,” said Crump. “Once complete, we will have a stronger blackstart plan and the ability to generate additional power in a part of our state where more power supply is needed. At Teche, we have sufficient available land to accommodate another unit and most importantly, we have an experienced staff to operate Teche 4. This unit is a win for everyone.”

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