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Cleco's first SmartSites location announced at the Natchitoches Parish Port

SmartSites speeds business development and expansion and helps create jobs

PINEVILLE, La., Nov. 17, 2011 - Cleco Power's Economic Development division today unveiled its first SmartSites located at the Natchitoches Parish Port.

Cleco SmartSites are certified by McCallum Sweeney Consulting and have met site-readiness criteria, which attracts business and industry and lays the foundation for new jobs. McCallum Sweeney Consulting is one of the leading site selection and consulting agencies in the nation.

This property is a 350-acre site owned by the Natchitoches Port and is the first of several SmartSites Cleco plans to promote nationwide as available, fully-served and developable.

"Today is a success for our state and the community as we showcase our first SmartSites and one of the state's best locations for new business," said George Bausewine, president and COO of Cleco Power. "To have McCallum Sweeney certify this site and stamp it as ready for development moves it to the top of the prospect list as businesses look to relocate or expand. We are excited about the potential SmartSites will bring to Natchitoches and surrounding communities."

Cleco started the SmartSites program in 2010 with a list of sites for McCallum Sweeney to assess. The property at the Natchitoches Port was the first location to complete the evaluation process, which includes a thorough appraisal of the site's strengths and challenges, helping to speed the business development process.

"As businesses look to grow, they want to locate properties that are easily permitted, contain no surprises and have available or accessible infrastructure," said Mark Sweeney, senior principal with McCallum Sweeney. "We essentially identify all of the things that are important to business and industry so that they know up front what a piece of property offers."

"There is a pressing need to identify and cultivate more available industrial sites in Louisiana. We are delighted by Cleco's efforts to aggressively build site inventory with their new SmartSites program, as this program will closely align with our own efforts to expand the number of quality sites available in Louisiana," said Stephen Moret, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. "As we work together and add more SmartSites to the Louisiana inventory, I am confident that we'll see more projects and more announcements in Cleco's service territory."

"This is a major step in the Natchitoches Parish Port's efforts to locate additional industries at the port," said Ralph Ingram, president of the port commission. "This certification will attract the attention of companies that never would have considered the port for their facilities. Receipt of this certification, and in consideration of the opportunities it provides, further solidifies the port's standing as an economic development engine for Natchitoches Parish and the region."

The SmartSites program develops Cleco communities by attracting business, creating jobs and supporting existing economic development efforts.

Cleco Corporation is a regional energy company headquartered in Pineville, La. Cleco owns a regulated electric utility company, Cleco Power LLC, which owns 10 generating units with a total nameplate capacity of 2,572 megawatts and serves approximately 279,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and 10 communities across Louisiana and Mississippi through wholesale power contracts. Cleco also owns a wholesale energy business, Cleco Midstream Resources LLC, which owns two natural gas-fired generating units with a total nameplate capacity of 775 megawatts. For more information about Cleco, visit www.cleco.com.

This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of Thomson Reuters clients.
The owner of this announcement warrants that:
(i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and
(ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.
Source: Cleco Corp. via Thomson Reuters ONE

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