On Wednesday, February 20, 2013, Entergy New Orleans hosted the first public conference on the New Orleans Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which will determine New Orleans’ energy future for the next 20 years. Entergy New Orleans representative, Jim Lanning presented a plan that is uninspiring and lacks vision. Entergy New Orleans plans to meet the city’s needs by relying on old coal and nuclear generation, along with expanding natural gas generation. This includes a proposal to spend millions on the nearly 60-year-old Michoud 3 plant, to keep it generating for another decade.
The plan includes no investments in renewable sources of energy and fails to make any new commitments to energy efficiency, despite strong support for these programs from the City Council and New Orleans residents.
Entergy New Orleans contracted with ICF International to conduct a Demand Side Management study to identify the potential for energy efficiency investments. David Pickles, ICF International Senior VP, stated that the greatest opportunity for increasing energy efficiency in the city could come from the commercial sector, which includes most non-industrial businesses along with government facilities. These recommendations and others made by ICF were largely missing from Entergy New Orleans’ final Preferred Portfolio plan.
During the Q&A session, residents emphasized New Orleans unique vulnerability to the effects of CO2 emissions, specifically sea level rise, and called on Entergy New Orleans to do a lot more.
Gary Huntley, Entergy New Orleans VP of Regulatory and Gov’t Affairs, deflected the public criticism by saying that the state and federal government should be the force pushing for more renewable energy, such as wind and solar, and that is not Entergy’s role. This is a significant departure from Entergy’s outspoken Chairman & CEO J. Wayne Leonard who once said that climate change was a disaster of biblical proportions and committed the company to exploring carbon storage options.
The conference was held at UNO’s Lindy Boggs Conference Center, and was attended by advisors to City Council, members of the energy industry, as well as New Orleans residents.
Entergy’s Plan will soon be brought to the City Council for a vote. Input from New Orleans residents can improve the plan, but the time to act is NOW! This is a valuable opportunity to make a major impact in the plan for New Orleans’ energy future.
You can question or comment on Entergy’s proposed plan from now till March 6th. All comments will become a part of the public record used by the City Council to make their decision. Express your opinion by going to: http://www.entergy-neworleans.com/irp/2012_IRP_questions.aspx