Cleco Power Launches Major Louisiana Economic Initiative: Project Diamond Vault
$9 Million in Congressional Funding Secured to Support Engineering Study
Pineville, La. (April 11, 2022) – Cleco Power is investing in the development of a new, state-of-the-art carbon capture facility located in the heart of central Louisiana at the Brame Energy Center. Project Diamond Vault, which will begin with a Front End Engineering Design (FEED) study, will retrofit Cleco’s existing Madison 3 plant to reduce 95% or more of its carbon dioxide emissions through carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology.
“Diamond Vault will bring Cleco to the forefront of environmentally friendly energy production,” President and CEO, Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC, Bill Fontenot said.
“Our organization has been honored to work collaboratively with Louisiana Economic Development (LED) to bring this innovative technology to our state through the FEED study, which will ensure the advancement of the energy industry and support the health and well-being of our communities,” Fontenot said.
Diamond Vault will be one of the first American projects to capture the existing CO2 emissions of a power plant and sequester them in geological formations. Madison 3 already has low emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulates because of its use of advanced combustion technology and pollution control measures. The installation of CCS technology through Diamond Vault will ensure that Madison 3 remains a state-of-the-art solid fuel plant.
Diamond Vault is expected to create an average of 1,100 direct construction jobs over a three-year period and 30-40 new permanent positions. On a statewide basis, LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott estimates that Diamond Vault, during the construction period, will create an average of 2,900 jobs each year, inject $2.7 billion in increased sales and household earnings into the Louisiana economy and produce $50 million in increased state tax revenues. Construction of Diamond Vault is expected to begin in 2025 and commercial operation is planned for 2028.
The FEED study for Diamond Vault will take about 18 months to complete and is projected to cost approximately $12 million. Cleco has secured a $9 million congressional appropriation to be administered and disbursed by LED which will help to defray the FEED study cost. After the study, Cleco plans to raise project capital funding of approximately $900 million through tax credits, Department of Energy grants and private equity investment.
Diamond Vault was unveiled during a press announcement on April 11 and has been in planning by Cleco with the support of political leaders and LED for more than a year. United States Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. was instrumental in advancing the project through his sponsorship of FEED study funding in the enacted 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.
Cleco has retained expert assistance to bring Project Diamond Vault to fruition. Sargent & Lundy, a Chicago-based global power and energy design firm, is serving as owner’s engineer. Battelle, a private nonprofit dedicated to scientific and technological commercialization and advancement, is advising on the characterization of geological storage capacity, permitting and storage operations.
“Our customers deserve a world where anyone can access clean power. We invest in these efficiency and optimization technologies today, so that our communities can experience a brighter future tomorrow,” Fontenot said.
About Cleco Power LLC
Cleco Power is a regulated electric public utility company that owns nine generating units with a rated capacity of 3,035 MWs and serves approximately 291,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi. For more information about Cleco, visit www.cleco.com.