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Cleco Corp. Receives 84th Annual Edison Award for Madison 3 Effort

Jun 13, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) - Cleco Corp. (NYSE: CNL) today received the 84th Annual Edison Award, the electric utility industry's most prestigious honor, for the company's innovative approach to diversifying its generation fuel mix with the deployment of its new Madison 3 plant. Together with international award winners AES Philippines and Tohoku Electric Power Company, Cleco is being recognized for "distinguished leadership, innovation and contribution to the advancement of the electric industry for the benefit of all."

Cleco Corp. was selected from a field of four finalists by a judging panel comprised of outgoing EEI Chairman and Xcel Energy Chairman and CEO Richard C. Kelly and retired senior executives from the electric utility industry.

"Cleco showed terrific foresight and leadership in the face of numerous challenges unique to its region and resources mix," said EEI President Thomas R. Kuhn. "The company's decisive and innovative approach to bringing on the Madison 3 plant is an excellent example of our industry's resourcefulness and commitment to keeping the lights on."

Cleco -- which operates four plants and serves approximately 279,000 customers in central Louisiana -- traditionally has relied on natural gas resources for electricity generation. In 2003, Cleco began its planning for a generation strategy and fuel portfolio that would help keep prices low for customers and increase reliability. As Hurricane Katrina placed strain on the supply and price of natural gas for energy providers in the region, the company had already committed to plans for the new unit.

The result is the new Madison 3 plant, which utilizes two circulating fluidized-bed (CFB) boilers to power the steam turbine generator. The CFBs -- which were among the first installed in the United States and today are two of the largest in operation in North America -- are designed to burn biomass, petroleum coke and other solid fuels at a temperature low enough to ensure a 50-70 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and 90 percent less sulfur dioxide emissions during combustion. The more efficient use of solid fuels afforded by the CFBs have allowed Cleco to reach a 50/50 balance of solid fuels to natural gas in its generation portfolio, compared to 70 percent reliance on natural gas prior to the opening of Madison 3.

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies. Our members serve 95 percent of the ultimate customers in the shareholder-owned segment of the industry, and represent approximately 70 percent of the U.S. electric power industry. We also have more than 65 International electric companies as Affiliate members, and more than 170 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate members.

Editor's Note: Photos are available. If you would like a photo, please contact Robbyn Cooper at (318) 484-7136.