New Gas-Fired Power Plants Proposed in Southeast Texas

Entergy Texas filed an application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) for approval to build two natural gas power plants—one in Jefferson County and the other in Liberty County.

“The Legend and Lone Star Power Stations will address the critical need for increased power generation capacity, support increased economic activity throughout the region, and pave the way for sustainable energy solutions that will benefit Southeast Texas for decades to come,” said Eliecer Viamontes, president and CEO of Entergy Texas. “These future-forward projects are projected to save customers approximately $370 million over the lifespan of the plants.”

The Legend Power Station is a proposed 754-MW combined cycle combustion turbine facility that will be located in Port Arthur, Texas, which is in Jefferson County. Entergy said the project will be “carbon capture-enabled” and feature a “hydrogen-capable combustion turbine.” The project is expected to cost about $1.46 billion and will add “a significant amount of generation capacity to the Southeast Texas power grid while striving to minimize environmental impacts,” Entergy said.

Meanwhile, the Lone Star Power Station will be sited in Liberty County near Cleveland, Texas, which is part of the Greater Houston metropolitan area. Lone Star is planned to be a 453-MW hydrogen-capable combustion turbine facility. Its price tag is expected to be about $753 million. The Legend and Lone Star plants are both expected to enter service by 2028 and will bring a total of $2.8 billion in economic benefits to the region, according to Entergy.

“The construction and operation of these power plants will offer substantial employment opportunities for local communities,” the company said. The PUCT is expected to consider approval of the projects in the coming months.

“As Texas continues to grow, so does our need for more dispatchable, reliable power to help businesses in Southeast Texas and across our great state thrive,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (Figure 1). “Entergy’s two new power stations will help bolster the electric grid, adding over 1,000 megawatts of generation capacity in four years. I thank Entergy Texas for working to bring $2.8 billion in economic investments to Southeast Texas and provide affordable power to hundreds of thousands of Texans. Together, we will power a bigger, better Texas.”

1. Entergy Texas President and CEO Eliecer Viamontes discusses the power plant proposal with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Courtesy: Entergy Texas

Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. The Texas Demographic Center projects the state’s population will reach more than 40 million by 2050, from just over 30 million in 2022. Entergy Texas said the growth will result in a significant increase in energy demand across its residential, commercial, and industrial customer base beginning in the next few years. And while the company in the past three years has reached commercial operation on a state-of-the-art 993-MW natural gas plant, contracted a 150-MW solar facility, and started construction on an advanced 1,215-MW natural gas plant, it says more capacity will soon be needed.

One of the customers adding to the demand is Sempra Infrastructure. It’s building the Port Arthur Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, Phase 1 of which will include two natural gas liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks, and associated facilities with a nameplate capacity of approximately 13 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa). The expected commercial operation dates for Train 1 and Train 2 are 2027 and 2028, respectively. Sempra Infrastructure also has plans for Phase 2, which is expected to have similar offtake capacity to Phase 1.

“Sempra Infrastructure’s Port Arthur LNG project has the potential to be one of the most significant energy export projects in the world, bringing U.S. energy to global markets and supporting job creation, economic prosperity, and wellbeing here at home. This all starts with a resilient and sustainable electricity grid,” said Justin Bird, CEO of Sempra Infrastructure and executive vice president at Sempra. “We are pleased to see Entergy Texas progress its initiatives to serve Southeast Texas through additional power generation, and especially through the eventual utilization of low-carbon solutions, including carbon capture, hydrogen generation, and renewables.”

Entergy said its dispatchable generation application with the PUCT is a critical step forward in the company’s Southeast Texas Energy Plan, also known as STEP Ahead. The plan was announced in May and aims to add an additional 1,600 MW of generation capacity to the power grid by 2028. A portion of the plan calls for upgrading existing transmission infrastructure and installing new transmission lines to ensure reliable power is available in fast-growing areas of Southeast Texas.

“To support the everyday energy needs of our growing communities, we’ve developed a strategic plan that will provide a diverse mix of generation, strengthen the Southeast Texas power grid, and drive economic growth—all while striving to keeping rates affordable for our customers,” Viamontes said in a statement to roll-out the plan on May 30.

The Legend and Lone Star plants mark the first proposals for STEP Ahead. Entergy said it plans to announce additional details regarding the next set of proposals in the coming months.

Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@POWERmagazine).

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