Pineville-based utility company, Cleco, will break ground this month on a new clean energy plant in St Mary parish. Spokesperson Robbyn Cooper says a partnership between Cleco and Cabot Corporation will allow them to produce energy without any emissions at the $80 million facility in Franklin.

“We are taking the waste heat from Cabot’s manufacturing process, using it as a fuel, if you will, and generating electricity using this steam, or this waste heat,” Cooper said.

Cooper says the new St. Mary Clean Energy Center will provide power for 17,000 homes across Louisiana. She says building the facility will also benefit the local economy by creating new jobs.

“It’s also going to bring in additional revenue through construction with 200 workers for Cleco and 200 workers for Cabot, so a total of 400 construction jobs,” Cooper said.

Cleco expects it will be operational by March 2018. Cooper says this is a good investment for Cleco, because it will replace a smaller plant that was built in the 1950s.

“We’re going to take the money and build this new plant that’s going to bring new power with no increased emissions,” Cooper said.