Power plant announced

Published 5:59 am Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The approximately $200-million, 360-megawatt Calpine power plant, which has been dormant for more than a decade since the energy market failed, will reportedly be finished and then sold to Entergy.

Washington Parish Assessor James Stevenson Jr. said the Tax Commission would value the property at 25 percent.

“That’s $50 million, so it’s pretty significant,” he said. “I think it will be a positive impact as far as increasing what the taxing bodies (such as law enforcement and school boards) get. They all will benefit. I’m very excited and glad to see it.”

Stevenson was in attendance when Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta made the announcement Friday.

“Calpine is going to tear down the existing plant to the slab, and then start building it back,” he said. “When it’s completed they’re going to sell it to Entergy on the day it’s ready to be turned on.

“It’s a peaker plant, which means it won’t run 24 hours a day, but just at peak hours when there’s a drain on the system. But it will be able to start right away. It’s like keeping a car idling, and being ready to push the gas pedal.”

Stevenson added that the full Public Service commission must approve the project between Calpine’s tear down and the re-build, which will likely take six to 10 months.

He said he hopes the project attracts other businesses as well.

“It’s clean energy,” Stevenson said. “We’re all excited about it. It’s been a long time coming.”

Washington Economic Development Foundation Director Ryan Seal also celebrated the prospective sale.

“The project started just west of Bogalusa probably over 15 years ago, and it sat by largely dormant while Calpine went through and emerged from bankruptcy,” he said. “Now Calpine is going to complete it and sell it to Entergy.

“During construction, there will be over 300 workers building the facility, and when it’s completed probably 25 to 35 employees will work out there.

“We’re real pleased Entergy got it. Entergy has always been a good corporate citizen, and in the long term they’re going to be a terrific employer.

“This is going to substantially increase our tax base. It’s going to be a big boost, tax-wise.”