Louisiana’s largest utility has filed a request for approval of two utility solar projects that can bring the southern state up to pace with its neighbors in the region by doubling its solar output. Earlier this week Entergy Louisiana filed a request from the Louisiana Public Service Commission to approve the purchase, construction and operation of 225 MW of solar projects.
With just 216 MW of solar in the Pelican State, its Fortune 500 utility company could catapult Louisiana back into line with other southern states with 441 MW of aggregate solar resources.
Entergy Louisiana selected an Iberville Parish solar facility at 175 MW and a second facility with 49 MW of total capacity, the Sterlington Solar Facility in Ouachita Parish, to add to the state’s clean energy mix. If approved, the utility will be able to increase its renewable portfolio and help meet the growing demand for clean generation.
For the developments, Entergy entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with Coastal Prairie Solar, a NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary, for the power produced from the Iberville Parish project. Entergy will build and operate the Sterlington facility in Ouachita Parish.
If approved, construction on the Iberville project will begin in the spring of 2024, with commercial operations on track for late 2025. The Sterlington facility will follow Iberville and is expected to begin delivering clean power into the grid by early 2026.
The utility solar proposal also includes a request for authorization to include the new projects into Louisiana’s recently approved green tariff Geaux Green Option, or Rider GGO. This is a voluntary program that allows Entergy residential and commercial customers the opportunity to subscribe to renewable energy resources across its Louisiana region. Adding the 225 MW of solar generation to the Rider GGO resource portfolio will further enable Entergy customers to meet their environmental and sustainability goals.
The Geaux Green program will include the two new solar projects (225 MW) combined with 475 MW of solar generating capacity in various stages of development: Elizabeth (125 MW, Allen Parish), Sunlight Road (50 MW, Washington Parish), Jacques (150 MW, St. James Parish) and Vacherie Solar Energy Center (150 MW, St. James Parish) projects.
Entergy customers can be billed in one of three ways under the Geaux Green program:
- Fixed Price (Option A) ($/kW-month) – Under this option, customers are subject to a $7.91 Rider GGO price per kW month.
- Volumetric Price (Option B) ($/MWh) – Under this option, customers are subject to a price of $39.29 per MWh to subscribe.
- Low-income Residential Price (Option C) ($/kW-month) – Under this option, low-income designated residents can pay $6.25 buy in to subscribe to a solar program.
The Geaux Green pricing is subject to change, as under the terms of the commission-approved settlement in Docket# U-36190, Entergy Louisiana will submit a final Rider GGO pricing update in Q3 2023, prior to the operational date of the first clean energy resources in the GGO portfolio.
Once final pricing is shared under the Rider GGO, Entergy customers will be asked to sign an amendment to their electric service agreement which will serve as a binding, one-year commitment to the Geaux Green subscription program.
Commercial and industrial customers can also subscribe to Geaux Green, under which the utility has issued a 50 MW cap per customer.
The Louisiana PSC in September 2022 approved Entergy’s initial 475 MW solar portfolio as part of the Geaux Green program, and also approved the solar subscription and green tariff program itself.
In June 2022, Entergy Corp. discussed plans for generating up to 7 GW of renewable resources by the end of 2025, and as much as 14 to 17 GW of renewable resources by the end of 2031.
Entergy’s multi-state renewable generation portfolio consists of 1.93 GW of solar projects set to enter commercial operations by 2025, with an additional 6.8 GW of solar and wind assets to be deployed through 2027, according to a late 2022 generation mix chart. The utility operates 300 MW of biomass, waste heat and hydroelectric generation assets.
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