Entergy asks FEMA for $450M for more resilient electric grid
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana’s largest power company is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency for $450 million to make its electric grid more resilient, under a program to help communities prepare for hurricanes and other extreme weather.
Entergy Corp.’s eight grant applications include three of the four projects that were in a $39.5 million package rejected last year. This year it’s submitting each of the three as a separate application, a spokesman said Thursday.
Some of its projects would protect several south Louisiana substations from floods, the company said in a news release Wednesday. It said others would reconfigure and harden transmission facilities serving Houma and surrounding areas and upgrade distribution facilities in New Orleans and lower Plaquemines Parish to withstand stronger winds.
Company spokesman Brandon Scardiglia said Thursday he could not provide a list of proposed projects with the amounts requested for each because FEMA and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness asked that details remain private.
This year, $1 billion is available.
Entergy’s application covers both Entergy Louisiana, which has 1.1 million electric customers, and Entergy New Orleans, which has 205,000. The utilities also provide gas service.
Entergy wants to strengthen overhead distribution lines from a substation near the Superdome to withstand winds up to 140 miles per hour (225 kilometers per hour). In more exposed lower Plaquemines Parish, it wants to beef up substations and distribution lines for winds up to 150 mph (241 kph), the news release said.
“Entergy New Orleans is committed to making proactive investments to build a more resilient grid to ensure our communities are better protected from the impacts of stronger, more intense storms that may disrupt power,” said Deanna Rodriguez, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans. “Building electrical infrastructure strong enough to withstand the increased intensity and frequency of storms is an important decision that must balance affordability, reliability and environmental sustainability.”
Last year’s request covered flood protection at substations in the Barataria area of Jefferson Parish, Laplace in St. Charles Parish, and Toomey and Mossville in Calcasieu Parish. This time, Entergy is asking for grants to install flood protection barriers and associated equipment to protect the substations in Calcasieu and St. Charles parishes, the news release said.
“Entergy Louisiana will continue to focus our investments on building a more resilient grid,” said Phillip May, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana. “As we do, we will work with local, state and Federal entities to seek out funding opportunities that will ease the burden of these costs from falling on our customers.”