NEW ORLEANS — A new Entergy substation will power New Orleans' drainage system, officials announced Wednesday, relegating century-old turbines that have caused major headaches for years to backup power used only in emergencies.
Entergy New Orleans will supply most of the power used to operate the city's antiquated drainage system under a new partnership announced at a joint press conference at city hall.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell praised the new plan — pricetagged at $75 million — as a way to reduce long-term costs and environmental emissions.
It will be paid for with state funding set aside for the plan, plus city and Entergy funds. Officials said the substation would be built by hurricane season 2023.
About half of New Orleans' pumps are powered by Entergy already. The new substation will be installed at the Carrollton Plant and will be custom-built to convert the 60 htz power generated by modern machinery to the archaic 25 htz system S&WB has used since the system was first implemented.
New Orleans has for generations been fighting a losing battle against its own outdated system of turbines and pumps designed in the early 20th century to drain low-lying areas of the city.
Currently, at least two of the city's six turbines are offline because of an explosion that damaged one and an electrical component issue at the other that requires a custom part that isn't made any longer.
The city has used loud generators to shore up power generation needs, drawing the ire of nearby residents before and during storms. But there has been a constant fear that if there is any more damage to the system, flooding could become a much bigger issue.
The announcement comes amid potential tropical development in the southern Gulf of Mexico which could bring heavy rain to the New Orleans area later this week. The National Hurricane Center says the disturbance is likely to strengthen into a tropical depression and bring heavy rains to the northern Gulf Coast on Friday.
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