Louisiana’s Cleco Power Plots Less Coal, More Solar And Wind

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Louisiana-based Cleco Power has announced its proposed integrated resource plan (IRP), which would reduce the operation of the company’s oldest coal-burning power plant and add a substantial amount of clean energy, according to the Sierra Club.

Based on a detailed modeling analysis, says the Sierra Club, Cleco’s IRP confirms the benefits of reducing the operation of the Dolet Hills Power Station and acquiring up to 1.4 GW of renewable energy. The electric utility company said it would be “the most economic option,” the Sierra Club points out. Specifically, Cleco has estimated that reducing the operation of Dolet Hills would immediately save customers as much as $40 million annually.

Cleco’s plan confirms that the Dolet Hills plant is economic to operate only during the summer months, if at all, according to the Sierra Club. Indeed, an economic analysis submitted by the Sierra Club demonstrates that the power plant consistently costs more to operate than it generates in revenue, and thus, it should be retired as soon as possible.

Additionally, the company proposes to acquire up to 1.4 GW of renewable energy in Louisiana, comprising of up to 1 GW of wind and 400 MW of solar.

“Cleco’s plan establishes less coal and more renewable energy in Louisiana. This is a strong first step and signifies a new day for Louisiana as our power grid transitions from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” comments Cherelle Blazer, representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “We applaud Cleco for recognizing that investment in solar and wind energy can not only reduce pollution but lower utility bills for customers.”

The plan must be approved by the Louisiana Public Service Commission. Cleco Power is a regulated electric utility company that owns nine generating units with a total nameplate capacity of 3,310 MW. It serves approximately 290,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi.

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LeAnn Pinniger Magee
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LeAnn Pinniger Magee

Abita Springs was the first community in Louisiana to commit to 100% Clean Energy. Cleco has been helping us achieve our 2030 goal, assisting with benchmarking, lighting, energy efficiency, electric vehicle infrastructure, and working towards both community and utility scale solar projects. Thanks to this progressive company, and the support of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign, our success is imminent.