Gov. John Bel Edwards and Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC President and CEO Bill Fontenot announced the company will invest $900 million to significantly reduce carbon emissions at the largest of its nine electric generation units in Louisiana, Madison-3 at Brame Energy Center in Lena, Louisiana.
Cleco Power, a regulated electric public utility that serves 291,000 customers in 24 Louisiana parishes, will build a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) facility to remove and compress 95% or more of the CO2 emitted by Madison-3 and permanently store it in geological formations under the site. The company has named the project “Diamond Vault,” and estimates it will create 30 to 40 direct new jobs and an average of 1,100 construction jobs in central Louisiana over a three-year period.
“Today’s announcement is an important milestone on Louisiana’s path to a cleaner energy future,” Gov. Edwards said. “Our state has attracted significant investment in the construction of new facilities that minimize emissions. Cleco’s investment reduces existing emissions, which moves us even more rapidly toward our goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050. I applaud Cleco’s initiative, and challenge other businesses in the state to be aggressive in their response to Louisiana’s Climate Action Plan. Doing so will strengthen our environment and our economy, especially in our rural communities.”
Cleco secured a $9 million congressional appropriation, to be administered and disbursed by Louisiana Economic Development, to help defray the cost of a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study. After the study, Cleco plans to raise capital funding of approximately $900 million through tax credits, Department of Energy grants and private equity investment.
“Cleco’s Project Diamond Vault will ensure a clean and sustainable power solution for Cleco customers, while creating and retaining jobs for the communities we serve,” Fontenot said. “In Louisiana, we have the natural resources, the ingenuity, the geology, the people and the infrastructure to transform the power industry as we know it. Cleco is thankful for the support of Gov. Edwards, Sen. Cassidy, Louisiana Economic Development and other Louisiana leaders.”
The FEED study is expected to be complete by the end of 2023. Permitting, which follows an environmental impact and public review process, is expected to be complete during the second half of 2025. Construction would begin immediately thereafter and commercial operations are planned to begin no later than 2028.
“Cleco’s Diamond Vault project positions both the company and the region for new leadership roles in the emerging green energy economy,” Louisiana Central President and CEO Jim Clinton said. “The potential for job, wealth and enterprise creation could trigger a new era of growth and prosperity for the region. Diamond Vault can be a breath of fresh air for the planet, a growth driver for Cleco, and a big opportunity for our people and businesses.”