Conservationists voice concerns over new Entergy facility

Conservationists are calling for a public forum regarding a proposed new Entergy Texas power plant for Bridge City.

The Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter and other conservation groups, including the Port Arthur Local Community Action Network, launched a campaign that included submitting form letters from 465 members of its network requesting a public hearing and giving information on pollution in the region. . It also included a section for residents to include their own comments as well.

At least six people from Southeast Texas have joined the effort to demand further consideration from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality into the proposal to create the primarily natural gas plant.

“We demand that TCEQ hold a public meeting in the community as soon as possible on this dangerous proposal, and we ask Entergy to seek alternative ways to meet the energy supply and reduce the demand for energy in our area,” John Beard, CEO of the port. Arthur Community Action Network, said in a statement.

The groups criticized the plant’s location in an area already occupied by many heavy industrial emitters, its estimated annual emissions and its proximity to recreation areas.

Dubbed the Orange County Advanced Power Station and expected to power around 230,000 homes by 2026, the plant was designed by the utility as a tool to reduce its carbon footprint and improve efficiency.

Although it is planned to use mainly natural gas, the plant will be the first in the company to also be able to use hydrogen from the start.

The company believes that using hydrogen will allow it to generate electricity with net zero carbon emissions, but setting up a plant with gas and hydrogen capabilities means it can perform a transition over time as the market evolves to promote cleaner energy.

The plant’s start-up is also slated to coincide with the withdrawal of older units from the Sabine Power Plant in Orange County, most of which were completed in the early 1960s.

“This facility will help ensure that we are meeting our customers’ needs for reliable, low-cost energy in a way that reduces emissions, delivers significantly cleaner energy than older power plants, and positions the plant for sustained operations.” as the country moves to a low carbon economy, ”company representatives wrote in an email to the Company.

According to utility estimates, the new plant would reduce its current carbon emissions by almost 40% compared to the older technology currently in use.

Entergy also calculated that having newer, more efficient production in Southeast Texas will save customers roughly $ 1.5 million in net profits.

The utility estimates that construction will create more than 7,000 direct jobs in Texas and nearly $ 1.8 billion in economic activity for the region’s economy. Once operational, the plant will have more than twenty permanent employees.

But most conservationists still believe that the best way forward is one that avoids fossil fuels altogether, instead of initiating the development and improvement of renewable technologies that will ultimately make them more marketable.

“Entergy has the opportunity here to focus on safe, reliable and renewable energy and to invest more in energy efficiency,” Emma Pabst, Beyond Coal campaign representative for the Sierra Club, said in a statement. “Instead, Entergy is doubling down on a plan that makes the many problems of the climate crisis even worse – floods, power outages, dangerous pollution.”

While Entergy planned plants like the one in Orange County and recently completed another natural gas station in Montgomery County earlier this year, it has also explored more renewable sources for its portfolio.

In addition to the recently signed power purchase agreement for the proposed Umbriel solar installation in Polk County, Entergy Texas is also seeking approval for its own solar installation in Liberty County and has issued a RFP for 400 megawatts of additional solar resources.

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