Cleco Power released its proposed Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which confirms that reducing the operation of the company’s oldest and dirtiest coal-burning power plant and adding up to 1,400 MW of clean energy will save its electricity customers millions — while reducing air and water pollution throughout the state.
In Louisiana, regulated utilities, like Cleco, are required to develop multi-year, fleet-wide generation (i.e., resource) plans to ensure that the utility’s generation portfolio represents the least-cost means to reliably serve customer electricity demand. Based on a detailed modeling analysis, Cleco’s Integrated Resource Plan confirms the benefits of reducing the operation of the coal-burning Dolet Hills Power Station and acquiring up to 1,400 MW of renewable energy, which is Cleco’s modeling analysis confirms is the “most economic option.”
Cleco has estimated that reducing the operation of Dolet Hills will immediately save customers as much as $40 million annually.
“Cleco’s plan establishes less coal and more renewable energy in Louisiana,” said Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign Representative, Cherelle Blazer. “This is a strong first step and signifies a new day for Louisiana as our power grid transitions from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”
The Integrated Resource Plan represents another significant step toward reducing Cleco Power customer’s electricity costs, while also reducing pollution and creating clean and sustainable jobs that harness Louisiana’s abundant renewable energy potential. Specifically, Cleco’s plan confirms that the coal-burning Dolet Hills power plant is only economic to operate during the summer months (if at all).
Expert economic analysis submitted by Sierra Club demonstrates that the Dolet Hills power plant consistently costs more to operate than it generates in revenue, and should be retired as soon as possible. Additionally, the Company proposes to acquire up to 1,400 MW of renewable energy in Louisiana, comprised of up to 1,000 MW of wind generation and 400 MW of solar.
If the Louisiana Public Service Commission approves Cleco’s plan, it will constitute further progress towards reducing pollution, creating sustainable clean energy jobs, and transitioning to a clean energy future while also reducing customer bills.
“We applaud Cleco for recognizing that investment in solar and wind energy can not only reduce pollution but lower utility bills for customers,” added Blazer. “This IRP is consistent with the LPSC’s recent approval a settlement between Sierra Club and CLECO that included a phase-down of coal use and ramp up of economic renewable energy.”