A Visit to Entergy’s Nine Mile Point Facility

What does efficiency mean to the average citizen?  Perhaps, for some of us it means prioritizing errands for the day or maybe for students it means the fastest way to study for classes. For Entergy, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, efficiency means generating power using a combined-cycle natural gas turbine power plant (CCGT).  On a recent class trip, students in Tulane’s Master of Management of Energy (MME) learned that Entergy’s new CCGT plant, being commissioned at Nine Mile Point near Westwego, La. The plant achieves thermal efficiency by not wasting heat created from burning natural gas.  Initially, gas is used in a combustion turbine to turn a generator creating electricity. The hot exhaust gases are then routed through a Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) to create steam which then turns a steam turbine to generate additional electricity.  In a simple cycle power plant, the residual feat from combustion is released into the atmosphere, in effect, causing the simple-cycle plant to lose a significant portion of the energy that could be harnessed for additional power production.

On Friday, July 25th, Entergy led the MME students and faculty on a tour of its Nine Mile Point facility, located in Westwego, across the river from New Orleans. The guides showed the class everything from the control room and dispatch center to key components of the power plant necessary to create electricity. This power plant at Nine Mile Point is nearing the end of a seven-year project charged with designing, authorizing, and constructing the new $600 mm unit.  With an expected completion date of mid-2015, it will be one of the nation’s most efficient power plants.   Prior to this tour, efficiency to our class probably meant prioritizing errands, or the fastest way to study.  As the fall curriculum starts, the MME program will continue to study the economics of natural gas, and having taken this field trip to Entergy’s power plant, students will better understand this segment of the downstream industry and its market dynamics.

Adrian Charbonnet, Master of Management in Energy Candidate 2015

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