(Repeats to widen distribution; no changes to headline or
HOUSTON, March 6 Entergy Corp's (ETR.N) Texas
utility seeks an air permit to build a new natural gas-fired
power plant north of Houston.
Entergy Texas Inc, which has completed its plan to separate
from Entergy Gulf States of Louisiana, filed for a permit for a
500-megawatt expansion at its Lewis Creek power station near
Willis, according to the Texas Commission for Environmental
Entergy spokesman Dave Caplan said no decision has been
made to build the new plant. The company wants to obtain a
permit as an additional option as it works to select a power
region under which Entergy could introduce competition to its
380,000 customers in Southeast Texas.
Lewis Creek is the site of two 35-year-old, gas-fired units
operated by Entergy. The company may build two simple-cycle
units at the site to produce 336 MW or a combined-cycle plant
that could generate about 513 MW, Caplan said.
The Montgomery County area served by the Lewis Creek plant
is one of the fastest-growing areas in Entergy Corp's
Over the last several years, Entergy Texas has been working
unsuccessfully to comply with Texas legislation that opened a
large part of the state's retail electric market to
Texas regulators last October rejected Entergy's plan to
connect to the state's primary power grid as too costly and of
little benefit to other Texas consumers.
The commission ordered Entergy to take another look at how
its Texas transmission network could be placed under the
control of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional grid
entity serving parts of Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma,
Kansas, Missouri and New Mexico.
Entergy's grid currently operates with an Independent
Coordinator of Transmission located in the Southeastern
Electric Reliability Council. Its system lacks the level of
independent oversight Texas law requires to initiate
competition, Texas regulators have ruled.
The SPP study is expected to take several months, Caplan
(Reporting by Eileen O'Grady; Editing by David Gregorio)