Insights > The Value of a Diverse Fuel Fleet

The Value of a Diverse Fuel Fleet


We’ve certainly seen some hot days and nights here in New Orleans. In fact, just a few weeks ago, the heat index broke records topping off at more than 115 degrees.

Customers spending more time at home means air conditioners and fans have been running more than normal to keep homes cool. Fortunately, when we see such an increase in demand, there are energy resources available so that electric service is not disrupted. The New Orleans Power Station, which entered commercial operations on May 31, has been consistently called to run in the day ahead market. The site has been viewed by MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) as having both the economic and reliability advantages to deliver energy to New Orleanians.

Entergy New Orleans needs to be prepared to answer when called upon to supply safe, reliable and clean energy to our customers. Having a fleet that includes a diverse range of fuels is especially critical during the extreme heat that can hit Louisiana. Fortunately, the efficient New Orleans Power Station takes advantage of the low cost of natural gas and has enabled us to provide significant savings to our customers as it is running almost every day.

Reciprocating engine units, like those used at the New Orleans Power Station, can ramp up to full capacity in just a few minutes, which provides needed flexibility and grid support.  During hurricane season, the New Orleans Power Station will assist with storm restoration by providing an essential source of local generation. Reciprocating engines are highly efficient and include self-start capability, which enables the company to start the unit even when there is no power on the electric grid.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a common saying but is also a way to ensure we reduce risk for our stakeholders and a strong case for the importance of fuel diversity. The New Orleans Power Station is one part of Entergy New Orleans’ commitment to adding low-carbon, diverse generation to help combat climate change. Today, about 50% of the energy Entergy New Orleans customers use is clean, coming from sources that don’t emit carbon dioxide, such as nuclear, solar, and hydropower. 

Our growing portfolio of commercial and rooftop solar, as well as the New Orleans Solar Station, show that we can power the economy, provide good jobs for people and protect the environment.

The idea of fuel diversity is important for several reasons. We must ensure that we plan for more than one resource to deliver power to our customers instead of depending on a single fuel source to be reliable.  Plants like the New Orleans Power Station, which runs on natural gas, are critical to a strong, reliable portfolio and ensure that we can supply electricity to our customers at a moment’s notice.

While our customers’ needs and expectations evolve, we must continue to analyze what our fuel mix could look like, taking in to account keeping costs low for customers and taking advantage of technological breakthroughs.

Affordable and diverse energy provides a strong foundation for the clean energy future of New Orleans. Entergy New Orleans’ Clean Energy Plan includes increasing the use of clean technologies, adding large-scale and rooftop solar, increasing energy efficiency, electrifying local infrastructure and continuing our use of emission free nuclear energy. This strategy will take advantage of all tools at our disposal to achieve a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Our investments today will lay the foundation for the future. If New Orleans is not thriving and growing, then our business cannot thrive and grow.

David Ellis
President and CEO, Entergy New Orleans