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Power up! Entergy’s project jolts capacity for new growth


By Ken Stickney


PORT ACRES — Forget about your ribbons.

Entergy Texas exercised a “wire cutting” Monday morning to mark the launch of its $70 million transmission project at GT OmniPort Industrial Park, creating infrastructure that will provide reliable power to existing and future customers on a 13-mile line.

Sallie Rainer, Entergy Texas president and CEO, said the project was two years in development — that includes planning and getting state permits — before its official launch Monday. It should be completed by June 2020. Named the Port Arthur Reliability Transmission Project, it will feature 13 miles of a new 230-kV transmission line that will connect two new 230-kV power stations, the Legend Substation in Port Acres and the Garden Substation in Central Gardens.

The project will serve existing customers, new customers and add new resources, providing power redundancy in the event of power failures.

The project was described as “complex in nature,” involving 75 tracts of land and two substations on 20 acres of land.

Redundancy was on the mind of District 3 County Commissioner Michael Sinegal, who in brief remarks recollected power failures in the city when Hurricane Rita struck in 2005.

“No one is concerned about energy until the lights go out,” he said, recalling that the city was “really scary” until Entergy got power up and running after the storm.

Steve Birdwell, of Golden Triangle Properties, talked about growth during the ceremony. He said the property near where project will begin offers 1,200 acres with a plethora of industrial advantages, including docks, highways, rail, pipelines and freshwater. What was missing — what the Entergy project promises — is a dependable and “significant” power supply.

Entergy plans $600 million in transmission projects between 2018-2020, which are included in a planned $2 billion in investments.

Entergy Texas Inc. provides electricity to 450,000 customers in 27 counties. Entergy overall delivers power to 2.9 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and has annual revenues of about $11 billion, the company said in an issued statement.

Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce President Bill McCoy said the project would give available land in Port Acres “everything a company needs” for growth.

“You can’t grow without energy,” he said.