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Friday, Feb. 11, 2022

New Facilites, New Jobs


Companies planning expansion projects

AEP to Develop New $100 Million Transmission Control Center

Gov. John Bel Edwards was on hand along with American Electric Power chairman, president and CEO Nicholas Akins to announce the investment at Resilient Technology Park in Shreveport.

The Shreveport Transmission Control Center (STCC) will create 20 direct new jobs, with average salaries of $115,000, and retain 20 jobs already in place in Shreveport. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 63 indirect jobs for more than 80 new jobs in the Northwest Region.

AEP, based in Columbus, Ohio, will develop the 77,000-square-foot facility on 30 acres in Shreveport. The STCC will control AEP’s transmission system operations in the Southwest Power Pool regional power grid. They will work in collaboration with the AEP Transmission Control Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, to control the operations of AEP’s transmission system in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power grid. The facility will also support the real-time operational technology hardware and software required to assess, monitor and support the entirety of AEP’s national transmission grid.

“Louisiana residents know the importance of a stable, reliable utility system, and the investments that American Electric Power is making in our state will increase the energy resilience of the entire Gulf Coast,” said Gov. Edwards. “I am confident that AEP will find a highlyskilled workforce in Shreveport. This new project will bring high-paying jobs and new economic activity for the northwest region of Louisiana, as well as increased confidence in our vital utilities.”

The STCC will feature a new substation, additional electric grid infrastructure and state-of-the-art equipment. Construction of the site will begin in the first quarter of 2022, with the start of operations projected for mid-year 2023.

“Assessing, monitoring and controlling the transmission grid and dispatching power plants is critical to keeping the power flowing to our customers,” Akins said. “It requires access to high-speed data networks and reliable power. We are excited to be the first facility to break ground in Resilient Technology Park and to be able to showcase the investments that have brought fiber optic data lines and other critical infrastructure to the area.”

Resilient Technology Park, located near I-20 and Greenwood Road, is one of more than 100 available sites certified by LED for industrial projects. The STCC will be located in the northwest quadrant of the 313-acre park.

Southwestern Electric Plans Solar Facility

Southwestern Electric Power Co., an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, announces plans to add 72.5 megawatts (MW) of solar energy by Dec. 1, 2024, through a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Rocking R Solar, LLC (Rocking R), an affiliate of D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI). The proposal supports SWEPCO’s longterm plan of increasing its use of more clean energy sources, such as solar and wind.

The Rocking R Solar Facility project will be located approximately 20 miles north of Shreveport, near Hosston. The new facility will help fulfill SWEPCO’s commitment to pursue up to 200 MWs of solar generation in its service territory.

SWEPCO has agreed to purchase power at a fixed rate for 20 years, with an option to purchase the facility after 10 years. The project’s 72.5 MW is enough to power approximately 12,000 homes for a year.

$550 Million Blue Methanol Plant Considered 

Bia Energy Operating Company (BEOC) is evaluating a $550 million blue methanol production plant that would be located at the Port of Caddo-Bossier in Shreveport. If the plant becomes operational, the company will create 75 direct new jobs, with an average annual salary of $80,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project would result in 390 indirect jobs, for a total of 465 new jobs in Louisiana’s Northwest region. Nearly 350 construction jobs would be created at peak construction for the project.

Plans for the proposed plant include a production capability of 530,000 metric tons of methanol annually, using natural gas as a feedstock. The plant would feature carbon capture capabilities, reducing carbon dioxide, or CO2, emissions by more than 90 percent compared to other methanol plants.

If it moves forward, BEOC plans to locate its facility on a 74-acre site at the Port. The company is expected to make a final decision in the first quarter of this year. Construction is expected to last approximately two years, and commercial operations will begin soon.

“BRF and its partners have been working on this project for three years,” said BRF president and CEO and Bia Energy board member John F. George Jr., M.D. “Financial analysts in BRF’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP) helped BEOC secure investment funds from the New Louisiana Angel Fund and BRF.”


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