Power plant construction start slated

Morgan City Mayor Frank "Boo" Grizzaffi

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD zfitzgerald@daily-review.com

The groundbreaking for construction of the new Louisiana Energy and Power Authority natural gas-run power plant slated to come to the city will be April 17, Morgan City Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi said.
The plant is being constructed on Youngs Road between the horse arena and Joseph Cefalu Sr. Municipal Steam Plant.
In October 2013, about $120 million in revenue bonds were approved to pay for construction of the plant that will also service Houma, Jonesville, Plaquemine, Rayne and Vidalia. The scheduled completion date of the project is in late September 2015, LEPA General Manager Cordell Grand said. Morgan City has a 10-megawatt share in the 64-megawatt plant.
The city’s power usage peaks around 47 megawatts. The city can get about 20 megawatts from LEPA’s Rodemacher Plant in Lena and can access power through the grid.
The combined-cycle gas turbine plant will be much more efficient than city’s steam plant, Grand said.
One of the main factors that led to the plant’s development was due to transmission constraints in parts of Louisiana undermined municipalities’ ability to purchase low-cost power for communities that operate their own electrical systems, former Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte said in October. Putting the plant near Morgan City and Houma’s load should help alleviate those transmission constraints, and will allow the participating communities to actually export excess power, Matte said.
Grand said no water intake structures for cooling of the plant will be required. “We’re going to end up using wastewater from the city’s wastewater facility for cooling purposes,” Grand said.
The plant will also have black-start capability, which means no external power is needed to start the plant’s generator, Grand said. “What we’ll have is a small generator on the side that you can start up without any external power. And then it’ll be used to start up the bigger unit,” Grand said.
That small internal-combustion unit will be sufficient to start the plant if power lines go down during a hurricane and no other power is available, Grand said.
Several private construction projects are also in the works in Morgan City, Grizzaffi said.
In January, nearly $3.25 million in construction permits were approved. In February, about $1.34 million worth of projects received permits, Grizzaffi said. So far in March, the city has issued permits for $1.1 million worth of construction projects, the mayor said.
Walmart is committed to bringing a neighborhood store to Morgan City and hopes to begin construction by the end of the first quarter of this year, Grizzaffi said. The Walmart will be located next to the Sonic Drive-In at La. 70 and Marguerite Street. “Ideally, they’d like to be up and running by the end of the year,” he said.
A Family Dollar is coming to the east part of Morgan City on La. 182 across from Myers Tires. “They’re looking to have that up and open in the next few weeks,” Grizzaffi said. “I don’t think they have any intention to close their other location by Joe’s Boots.”
The Pizza Hut, slated to move in on La. 182 across from Cannata’s Supermarket, had been waiting for a Department of Transportation and Development permit, Grizzaffi said. “They finally got that so that project is back under way,” he said. A target date has not been set for the opening of the Pizza Hut, he said.
PMI Environmental Services has a $2.9 million project to move onto Youngs Road, the mayor said.
Other construction around the city includes a new church coming to Railroad Avenue near 11th Street, Grizzaffi said. Also, five new homes have been built in Morgan City so far this year, he said. “That’s the most we’ve had in a long time,” the mayor said.

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