Arkansas Energy

Entergy Arkansas's solar project in Searcy will be the largest utility-owned project in the state.
Entergy Arkansas

The Arkansas Public Service Commission this week approved a new utility-scale solar project that will provide Entergy Arkansas customers with 100 megawatts of solar power and 10 megawatts of battery storage for when the sun does not shine.

The Searcy Solar project in White County will be the largest utility-owned solar project in the state and the first to feature battery storage. It was first announced in March 2019.

Southwestern Electric Power Company, a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power, has plans to close the Dolet Hills coal-fired power plant near Mansfield, La., as part of a settlement agreement approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission in December.

The 650-megawatt Dolet Hills plant is co-owned by SWEPCO and Cleco Corp., and Dolet Hills Lignite Co., a subsidiary of SWEPCO, operates the Oxbow Mine to provide fuel for the plant. SWEPCO serves more than 536,000 customers in three states, including 119,800 customers in Arkansas.

Entergy power line
Entergy Arkansas

Entergy Arkansas is proposing a rate increase for its customers to help pay $135 million in reimbursements to customers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. According to a 2018 ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Entergy Arkansas violated an agreement it had with affiliates in Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana by misreporting sales of energy to non-network entities from 2000 to 2009.

Solar Array
Arkansas Business

A new Arkansas law taking effect is allowing local governments, agencies and schools to partner with third-party companies to building solar projects. Arkansas Business reporter Kyle Massey writes in this week’s issue about what’s coming together to make this possible.

Rick Vance is regional director for Entegrity Energy Partners LLC of Little Rock, one of several Arkansas solar providers riding the wave as local governments, agencies and schools plunge into a new solar mainstream.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is asking for an investigation into a settlement that would result in the shutting down of the state's two largest coal-fired power plants.

In a statement, Rutledge said she would like the Arkansas Public Service Commission to review the pending settlement agreement between the Sierra Club, the National Parks Conservation Association, and Entergy Arkansas, which co-owns the two plants.

White Bluff Coal Plant
Wil Chandler / Arkansas Business

Entergy Arkansas has agreed to replace two of the state’s largest coal-fired power plants with cleaner energy facilities.

As part of a settlement with the Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association, the White Bluff plant in Jefferson County will halt operations by 2028 and the Independence plant in Independence County by be shut down by 2030.

Both lack modern emissions controls and, a lawsuit alleged, violate the federal Clean Air Act.

Daniel Breen / Arkansas Public Media

Confronted with mounting debt and falling prices, the company that first developed one of the country's ten largest fields of natural gas is selling off its assets.

The Houston-area Southwestern Energy first began activity in the Fayetteville Shale play, a 50-to-500 foot thick sediment layer about a mile underground located across a wide swath of northern Arkansas, in 2002.

But, though estimates say gas reserves within the Fayetteville Shale can last until 2050, all drilling has stopped since 2016. Now, Southwestern Energy is selling its assets in the region to Oklahoma City-based Flywheel Energy for nearly $2.4 billion.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

A group of 10 students from LISA Academy North charter school in North Little Rock are preparing for a journey of almost 1,500 miles in the solar powered car they built by hand.

The group will travel with schools across the country from Fort Worth, Texas to Palmdale, Calif. in July as part of the Solar Car Challenge. LISA North is the first school in Arkansas to compete in the nationwide event.

Loreal
clintonfoundation.org

The latest installment of a United States Department of Energy web series features energy management teams from North Little Rock’s L’Oreal plant trading places with the team from Detroit’s General Motors facility.

The series, titled “SWAP," is a reality-style web series based on popular shows such as ABC’s “Wife Swap.” The Department of Energy oversaw the exchange, which details the two teams examining each other’s facilities to find ways to boost energy efficiency.

Southwestern Electric Power Company on Tuesday fired back at a group opposing the $4.5 billion “Wind Catcher” project designed to deliver wind-powered energy to Arkansas.

Clean Line
Arkansas Business

Arkansas's congressional delegation has asked U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to block plans for a power line across the state, arguing that recent setbacks make it unlikely for the project to continue.

Delegation members sent a letter to Perry on Tuesday urging the Energy Department to either "pause or terminate" the $2.5 billion Clean Line Energy project. The project is expected to bring several hundred miles of wind power lines through Arkansas, which landowners say would lower property values.

Scenic Hill Solar CEO Bill Halter.
Bobby Ampezzan / Arkansas Public Media

While the energy sector is bracing for higher prices under the impact of President Trump’s 30-percent tariff on solar goods manufactured outside the U.S. the city of Clarksville is ready to turn on Arkansas’s largest municipal solar array. The $10 million project was constructed by Arkansas-based Scenic Hill Solar. It’ll ceremonially open on Wednesday six months ahead of schedule.

CEO Bill Halter says it was made mostly with imported parts out of necessity. He expects future arrays to be more costly with the imposition of tariffs.

Arkansas Public Service Commissioner Kim O'Guinn was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson in Nov. 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Governor Asa Hutchinson is calling on the state’s Public Service Commission and utility companies to “take the necessary steps to pass on the benefits” of Congress’s new corporate tax cut to Arkansas ratepayers. The Republican governor detailed his request to PSC Chairman Ted Thomas in a letter Thursday.

Assistant Pro Tempore 1st District Senator Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

President Donald Trump has appointed an Arkansas state Senator as the federal representative on the Southern States Energy Board. Eddie Joe Williams says he’ll be sworn into the new post in 30 to 45 days, and in the meantime he’ll resign as state Senator.

He’s held an elected office of kind or another in the Cabot area since the early 2000’s. He was elected to the Senate in 2010. A special election will have to be called to fill out the remainder of his term.

Arkansas Nuclear One Entergy power plant
Wikipedia

Arkansas leaders are responding to the expected announcement Tuesday from the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency to roll back Obama-era regulations.

The Clean Power Plan was intended to significantly curb pollution by regulating the carbon emissions from different types of power plants. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was part of a 29-state coalition challenging the legality of the plan. In February 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to stay compliance with the regulations while it waited to judge legal merits of the plan.

For interested onlookers like Arkansas Energy Office program manager Chet Howland, the filing today by the Net Metering Working Group is a not-unexpected, slight disappointment.

The group is the creation of the Public Service Commission (at the request of the General Assembly) to examine net metering: the practice of pushing the electricity generated by windmills or solar power systems back onto the grid, and getting credit for it from energy utilities.

An electric utility that serves about 113,000 customers in western Arkansas says it plans to buy a significant portion of the nation's largest wind farm, currently being built in the Oklahoma panhandle and scheduled for completion in 2020.

CLARKSVILLE — Before a gathering of Rotarians enjoying corn on the cob and barbecue pork, inside a cool room at the University of the Ozarks, the state’s former lieutenant governor and the city’s utilities manager explain the prescience of a 20,000-module solar array in 20 slides.

 

It's a roughly $10 million investment, or about what the city itself spends in just eight months for power, since it doesn’t generate any itself, according to the manager, John Lester.

Plans Announced For Solar Power Plant In Clarksville

Jun 29, 2017
solar power stuttgart
Entergy Arkansas

A utility that serves about 4,500 commercial, industrial and household customers in Clarksville is partnering with a Little Rock-based solar energy developer to provide about a quarter of that city’s electricity.

The Clarksville Light & Water Company announced its 30-year power purchase agreement with Scenic Hill Solar on Thursday. A solar array will be constructed on about 40 acres of land owned by the city utility. John Lester is the General Manager of Clarksville Light & Water.

solar power stuttgart
Entergy Arkansas

Here comes the sun and I say it’s alright, Entergy Arkansas and NextEra Energy Resource officials announced Tuesday.

While no one was there to sing the Beatles’ solar-powered hit tune, Entergy and partner NextEra, along with local leaders in Arkansas County, christened the state’s largest universal solar energy project – the Stuttgart Solar Energy Center – during a sun-filled ceremony.

Pipe laying idle in the yard of Welspun Tubular in east Little Rock (2014 file photo).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas’s congressman may be divided on healthcare reform but they are squarely lined-up when it comes to cheering the State Department’s green-light for Keystone XL Pipeline. 

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton said the decision puts working families “ahead of the demands of left-wing donors for a change.” Senator John Boozman noted a Little Rock manufacturer, Welspun Tubular, manufactured hundreds of miles of the pipeline. Central  Arkansas U.S. Representative French Hill claimed the cross-nation “pro-growth” pipeline will have “a minimal impact on the environment.”

Pipe laying idle in the yard of Welspun Tubular in east Little Rock (2014 file photo).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas's congressional delegation is lining up to support President Donald Trump's moves to revive the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. President Trump utilized the power of executive orders on Tuesday to expedite reviews of the projects and re-start processes halted or delayed by former President Obama.

Following Trump's moves U.S. Representative French Hill, of the 2nd District in central Arkansas, issued a statement praising the President. Hill referenced a direct connection to a manufacturer in Little Rock, Welspun Tubular.

UAPB
toursbyjoshwhitehead.blogspot.com

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has signed a $19.3 million deal with a construction firm to design and complete the state’s first energy conservation project to meet a 2009 legislative dictate to reduce energy costs on Arkansas college campuses by 30%.

Indianapolis, Ind.-based Performance Services, which has similar projects at secondary schools and colleges across the U.S., has been contracted to do the work at UAPB through the Arkansas Energy Performance Contracting (AEPC) Program, which is part of the state’s Arkansas Energy Office.

Diamond Pipeline LLC

About 50 protesters turned out in Fayetteville to oppose a planned oil pipeline across northern Arkansas. Opponents said Saturday that the planned Diamond Pipeline is a threat to water, protected species and historic sites.

greencarreports.com

Motorists in Arkansas are enjoying the lowest gas prices in the U.S., and those in Oklahoma aren't paying much more.

AAA says the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Arkansas on Monday was $1.95 - the lowest in the nation. The average price was two cents higher in Oklahoma at $1.97, the same price as in Missouri. The average gas price in Texas was $1.96 a gallon and $1.98 in Kansas, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Arkansas Public Service Commissioner Kim O'Guinn was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson in Nov. 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Kimberly O’Guinn has been appointed by the governor to one of three slots on the Arkansas Public Service Commission. The body regulates Arkansas utilities such as natural gas, electricity, water, and pipelines. Commissioners serve six-year terms.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A contingent of about 20 Arkansas activists gathered at the State Capitol Tuesday to voice solidarity with North Dakota Access Pipeline protesters as they challenged the newly approved Diamond Pipeline. The 440-mile pipeline is to go under construction across Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Save The Ozarks

The Arkansas Public Service Commission hosted a day-long public hearing Tuesday on net metering, the industry term for people and businesses who generate their own electricity, typically through photovoltaic solar systems, and push that power back onto transmission lines.

Bringing Up Arkansas's 'F' In Solar

Oct 4, 2016
OECC

Futurists have long foretold of two energy “unicorns,” sources that are as abundant and non-polluting as they are competitive in the marketplace. 

Interstate Oil Gas Compact Commission
David Monteith / KUAR News

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson agree that energy policy needs to be included in the national political debate. But they disagree on a controversial transmission line project that would move wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle to western Tennessee.

Fallin is the 2016 chairman of the Interstate Oil Gas Compact Commission. Hutchinson will become chairman next year. Both governors spoke Monday at the group's annual conference.

Pages