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Texas regulators sign off on Entergy's planned combined-cycle plant

Texas regulators have given the green light to Entergy Texas Inc. to build a combined-cycle natural gas generating unit near Willis, Texas. The Public Utility Commission of Texas on July 28 approved the Entergy Corp. subsidiary's application to amend a certificate of convenience and necessity to include a planned 993-MW Montgomery County Power Station.

In October 2016, Entergy Texas filed an application with the commission to build the plant on the site of its existing Lewis Creek station. The project will boost reliability and reduce air emissions by adding emissions control technology, according to the company. It will also reduce fuel costs, which will help pay off the cost to build the plant within 10 years of its operation. Entergy Texas estimates the new power station will cost $937.3 million, which includes transmission upgrades, a construction fund and several other items.

According to the commission, Entergy Texas reached an agreement in June with several intervening parties limiting capital costs eligible for recovery from ratepayers to $830.8 million. But, the order said, certain costs could be excluded from the cost cap, including transmission upgrades required to build the plant.

The company must present evidence in its next fuel reconciliation or base rate proceeding, whichever is filed first, supporting the prudence of Entergy Texas's decision to deactivate Sabine Unit 2, a 213-MW gas-fired steam unit in the West of the Atchafalaya Basin planning region. The order also requires the company to identify and obtain necessary environmental permits associated with the plant's construction and operation.

Entergy Texas said it will break ground on the project during the first quarter of 2019, with a scheduled completion date of summer of 2021.