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  • Writer's pictureJoel David Massey

Cleco’s Diamond Vault Capture Facility on Hold Under Biden Administration, No Word from Landry Administration

LENA, LA—Back in October Economist Loren Scott predicted an economic boom for Cenla by 2025 due in part to green energy initiatives planed for the area.


Cleco


One such project Scott was excited about was Cleco’s Diamond Vault Carbon Capture facility. 





In April of 2022 it received bipartisan support from then Gov. John Bel Edwards and Sen. Bill Cassidy as a potential economic development success for the state, but there has been no news from Gov. Jeff Landry’s administration on the status of the project.


According to a local government source, the project put forth during the Trump administration has since been shelved by the President Joe Biden and local officials are hoping that if Trump returns to office in 2025 he will again give the go ahead for the project to get off the ground.


In September, Louisiana Economic Development released their “Diamond Vault Carbon Capture FEED Study” in partnership with Cleco, a plan to retrofit the Madison Unit 3 at the Brame Energy power plant in Lena, LA, and pump CO2 emissions into under the earth.  According to Cleco, this will reduce carbon emissions up to 95 percent through carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS).


The report prepared by Mark Bordelon with Cleco Power states that the project so far (from the work period from April 1, 2023 to September 30, 2024) cost $11,314,994, with $9,029,540 provided by the Department of Energy and 20 percent cost share of $2,285,454 picked up by Cleco shareholders.


If it happens, overall it will be a $900 million dollar project and would help to make Louisiana a global hub for carbon capture.  Industry leaders and Scott  says it would be an example of a green energy project that could be duplicated elsewhere in the world.  Louisiana’s geology makes it a good fit for such a project as the state has salt mines and other features under the earth that would provide thousands of tons of CO2 storage.


In the fall of 2021, Greg Hilburn with the Lafayette Daily Advertiser reported that Louisiana landed the largest clean energy carbon sequestration project in the world when Air Products said it is building a $4.5 billion complex in Ascension Parish that will be complete in 2026.


Over a 12-year evaluation period it would cost $50 - $55 per tonne of CO2, much of which would be paid for by the taxpayer via the Department of Energy.


There is a CCS island underground located near the facility that is ideal for piping the CO2.


The following slide was presented at the review meeting that lays out the Phase I plan which involves building steam extraction units, a water cooling system and ductwork and utility routing for the new CCS unit located near the power plant.




The firm Sargent & Lundy—who provide consulting, engineering, design, analysis, and project services for power projects worldwide—was the vendor awarded project management oversight (see flowchart). 


Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. was chosen as the technology vendor for construction of the project.




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