Entergy seeks to build natgas/hydrogen power plant in Texas

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U.S. electric company Entergy Corp wants to build a power plant in Texas capable of burning a combination of natural gas and hydrogen as more consumers seek to transition from dirty fossil fuels to carbon-free sources of energy.

This is just one of several hydrogen projects that U.S. utilities are developing. But before hydrogen can displace fossil fuels, analysts say governments need legislation and regulation to push energy firms to spend the billions needed to reduce the cost of producing clean or green hydrogen.

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Entergy said in a release on Thursday that its proposed 1,215-megawatt (MW) Orange County plant will be located near Bridge City, which is close to the Gulf Coast near the Texas-Louisiana border.

Hydrogen, which produces no carbon dioxide emissions, is already used by a number of Entergy’s large industrial customers and can be stored nearby in facilities like Entergy Texas’s Spindletop storage facility.

Most of that hydrogen, like most produced around the world, comes from fossil fuels so is not considered green hydrogen, which comes from non carbon-emitting sources.

“Our region is home to hydrogen producers, pipelines, storage and industrial users,” Sallie Rainer, president and chief executive of Entergy Texas, said in the release.

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Construction of the plant will provide more than 7,000 direct jobs and nearly $1.8 billion in economic activity to the regional economy. Once operating, it will provide about 27 direct jobs and be capable of producing enough power for more than 230,000 homes.

Entergy said in coming months it intends to seek approval to build the plant from the Public Utility Commission of Texas. If the PUC approves the application, Entergy said it will start construction in the second quarter of 2023 with the plant expected to enter service by the summer of 2026.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy)