Entergy New Orleans breaks ground on West Power Complex’s first phase with Sewerage and Water Board

Published on December 07, 2022 by Chris Galford

© Entergy

Together, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) and Entergy New Orleans celebrated the groundbreaking of the first phase of the West Power Complex this week, beginning the momentum toward a 60 MW substation, new transmission lines, and more.

Current expectations set completion for Phase 1 by the end of 2024. Once finished, the setup will draw power from the Entergy New Orleans grid for its daily operations, with in-house turbine generators deployed as a backup. The latter will focus on improving the reliability and resilience of the city’s drainage and drinking water systems, while three static frequency changes will convert modern electricity to older currents.

“We’re excited to have reached this critical milestone. It’s been a long time coming, and we are proud of the collaboration between Entergy New Orleans, The Sewerage and Water Board, the City of New Orleans, and the New Orleans City Council,” Deanna Rodriguez, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans, said. “Providing improved reliability at the transmission level is important to both SWBNO and their customers, who also happen to be our customers.”

The new substation at the West Power Complex will replace existing power generation equipment with a more modern, resilient, and cost-effective system for keeping the city’s drainage and water pumps running. It will also include two transmission lines and two transformers for redundancy. For its protection, the system will also be raised to meet a 500-year flood elevation standard.

“This substation project, the most important infrastructure project for New Orleans, is finally coming to fruition after over a decade of discussion. It didn’t happen overnight. It required extensive collaboration and coordination with my office, Mayor Cantrell and her team, the New Orleans delegation, our federal leaders, SWBNO, and Entergy New Orleans,” New Orleans Councilmember Joseph Giarrusso said. “To put this in context, the combined age of the turbines is 379 years old. New Orleans needs a new, clean, reliable power source, so we aren’t wringing our hands every time it rains.”

Given the extent of the project, the groundbreaking was also attended by local, state, and federal officials looking to mark its possibilities.