Our Environment & Alternative Energy

Cleco balances energy needs of customers with safeguarding the environment. We work hard to respect and conserve Louisiana's natural resources while providing safe, reliable electricity to our customers.

Performance

As an energy services provider, Cleco is required to adhere to many state and federal rules and regulations involving environmental permits and procedures. Cleco has an outstanding compliance record in this area, but isn't content to just be compliant. We've made a commitment to go beyond compliance.

Teams of employees are researching ways to further reduce emissions and employ new technology that is both more efficient and environmentally-friendly.

Alternative Energy Projects

Solar Generation

Cleco has two solar generation test projects gathering data to help the company make cost effective decisions on future fuels and assist customers in making informed decisions on solar technology.

  • The first, installed May 2010, is at the company's Pineville headquarters and includes all three main types of solar panels – monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film photovoltaic cells. The system includes four solar panels on the roof of the corporate office in Pineville, LA,, three of which are fixed-tilt mounted and one of which is mounted on a sun tracking system. A typical home installation is three kilowatts, which provides approximately 25 percent of an average home's annual consumption. Cleco's Pineville project is approximately 2.5 times larger.
  • The second test system, installed December 2010, at the company's New Iberia Service Center, consists of 18 fixed-tilt mounted monocrystalline photovoltaic panels, capable of producing up to 4 kilowatts of power.

Biomass

Cleco Alternative Energy Center - Cleco and UL Lafayette are building an Alternative Energy Center in Crowley with the help of a $1 million stimulus grant from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources' Empower Louisiana Renewable Energy Grant Program. The company will partner with UL Lafayette to research the effectiveness of fuel generation from regional biomass. The pilot-scale biomass gasifier will convert materials such as wood chips, rice chaff, bagasse (a sugar cane byproduct), manure and certain grasses into synthesis gas or syngas. The syngas can be used as a fuel to generate electricity or converted into important liquid fuels and chemicals. Once complete, Cleco Power will maintain the facility, and UL Lafayette will operate and staff it. Gasification technology is not new but has evolved during the last decade due to additional research. Gasifiers extract energy from many different types of organic materials, including biomass, coal and petroleum coke. Cleco Power and UL Lafayette are working with NorthStar Resources of Jasper, Texas, to commercialize the biomass gasifier.

Solar Thermal Water Heating

Cleco installed solar thermal water heating at its New Iberia Service Center in 2010. The system uses solar energy to warm water by heat transfer. It has produced temperatures up to 156 degrees Fahrenheit. Cleco uses it to wash and test the integrity of insulated rubber gloves used by line mechanics when working on power lines.

Wind

In 2011 Cleco and the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission completed construction of a 60-foot high, 2.4 kilowatt-rated wind turbine on the bank of Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville.

According to the turbine manufacturer, this unit could produce up to 2.4 kilowatts of power when the wind speed is a consistent 29 miles per hour – almost enough power to provide 25% of an average home's annual consumption.

The two-year project will provide test data including average wind speed and weather information to help Cleco determine the economic feasibility of using wind turbines to generate power in Louisiana. Power generated will offset energy used at the Northshore Toll Plaza.

Cleco/Louisiana Tech research project

Three years ago, Cleco Power began collaborating with Louisiana Tech University on the development of commercial applications for geopolymer concrete and grouts made using fly ash from Dolet Hills Power Station in Mansfield.

Applications developed range from precast bridge barriers and parking stops to center blocks to sprayable grout for the rehabilitation of corroded sewer systems. Pilot projects utilizing this innovative, green material are currently under way with multiple industry partners, with the hope of achieving commercial status within the next two years.

Cleco/Louisiana State University research project

Cleco partnered with Louisiana State University's college of engineering to study the effect of electric vehicle chargers on the distribution grid of selected residential substations.
 

Electric Vehicles

Cleco has added two different electric vehicles (EV)  to its fleet.

Vehicle Cost Charge Time Range Speed
Ford Transit Connect pure electric plug-in $60,000 before incentives 110 volt outlet - 14 to 15 hours
220 volt outlet - 5 to 8 hours
50 to 80 miles 75 mph with maximum payload of 1,000 lbs.
Chevrolet Volt hybrid $41,000 before incentives 110 volt outlet - 10 hours
220 volt outlet - 4 hours
35 miles on electric charge, 340 miles with gasoline-assisted engine 100 mph