Brame Energy Center

From Global Energy Monitor

Brame Energy Center, also known as the Rodemacher Power Station, is a 1,701.8-megawatt (MW) coal-, gas-, and petcoke- fired power station operated by Cleco near Lena, Louisiana.[1]


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in Boyce, Louisiana.

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Plant Data

  • Owner:
    • Units 1 & 3: Cleco
    • Unit 2: Cleco (30%)[1] Lafayette Utilities System (50%)[2], Louisiana Energy and Power Authority 20%[2]
  • Parent Company:
    • Units 1 & 3: Cleco
    • Unit 2: Cleco, Lafayette Utilities System, Louisiana Energy and Power Authority
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,701.8 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1 (gas): 440 MW (1975), Unit 2 (coal): 558.0 MW (1982), Unit 3 (petcoke): 703.8 MW (2010)
  • Location: 275 Rodemacher Rd., Lena, LA 71447
  • GPS Coordinates: 31.396889, -92.719078
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Bituminous / Sub Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: Gateway Mine (Peabody), North Antelope Rochelle Mine (Peabody), Black Thunder Mine (Arch Coal), Lone Eagle MS River (Knighthawk)
  • Number of Employees:
  • Projected Retirements: Unit 2: 2028


Brame Energy Center is a series of plants that sits on 6,000 acres and uses man-made Rodemacher Lake as a cooling source for the plant's generating units. The lake covers about half of the site. The power station consists of the following plants:[1]

  • Nesbitt 1 - 440 MW unit built in 1975 and powered by natural gas.
  • Brame Energy Center 2 (also known as Rodemacher 2) - 558.0 MW unit built in 1982 and powered by sub bituminous coal from the powder river basin.
  • Madison 3 (first known as Rodemacher 3) - 703.8 MW unit built in 2010 and powered by petroleum coke, but can also run on coal and biomass as a back-up fuel source. Every year around 500,000 tons of limestone is added to the fuelmix.[3]

Cleco owns 100% of units 1 and 3 and 30% of unit 2; Power Authority and Lafayette Utilities System own 50% of unit 2,[1] and Louisiana Energy and Power Authority owns the remaining 20%.[2]

Unit Retirement Plans

On June 30, 2020, the Lafayette Utilities System held a public input forum about its Integrated Resource Plan for the future. One of the topics was retiring or converting Brame Energy Center unit 2 to natural gas by 2027. The plans are not final and subject to approval by the Lafayette City and Parish Councils, ratepayers, and joint owners and environmental and state regulatory agencies like the EPA and LDEQ.[4]

According to December 2020 reporting, the company pledged to close its coal-fired units at Rodemacher by October 2028 as part of coal ash closure planning.[5]


The plant began with a capacity of 998 MW: Unit 1 has a capacity of 440 MW and fueled by natural gas and low-sulfur fuel oil, and Unit 2 has a capacity of 558 MW and is fueled by coal from the Powder River Basin.[6]

In 2005 plans for a new unit were being developed to utilize circulating fluidized bed technology and burn petroleum coke and coal; the Shaw Group was running construction.[7] Lignite coal and Wyoming coal will serve as backups.

In June 2006, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality issued an operating permit for the project. The plant is under construction, and in May 2008 Cleco announced the project was on budget and expected to be in service by October 2009.[8]

According to the Sierra Club, Cleco Power will apply for approval with the Louisiana PSC to raise rates to cover construction costs.[6]

As of November 2009, construction of the third unit at the plant was nearing completion and expected to go online in December 2009. The new unit cost over $1 billion to construct and Cleco received approval in early November 2009 from the Louisiana Public Service Commission to charge its customers higher rates to recover the cost of building the plant. The third unit will burn coal and pet coke, but Cleco says it is investigating using renewable biomass to power the plant as well.[6]

In February 2010, the plant began operating. Cleco to use pet coke to fuel plant; Cleco said in the past Louisiana refineries have supplied nearly 400,000 tons of pet coke that have been delivered to and stored at the site.[9]

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Louisiana, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that is not currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites.[10] The report mentioned Louisiana based Big Cajun II Power Plant, Dolet Hills Power Station and the Rodemacher Power Station were three sites that have groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[11]

Coal Waste Sites

Citizen groups

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