November 19, 2018 Read More →

Entergy Arkansas to close White Bluff and Independence coal plants

Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

Entergy Arkansas plans to stop burning coal at the state’s two largest coal-fired power plants and close one fueled by natural gas by 2030. In the interim, the utility plans to focus on new power-generation sources, mostly renewable energy, the utility said Friday.

Entergy Arkansas’ planned phaseout is in accordance with a settlement reached with environmental groups that have long criticized the lack of modern emissions controls at those coal-fired plants.

On Friday morning, the Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association sued Entergy Arkansas in federal court, alleging that the company violated the Clean Air Act when it undertook projects in 2009 at the coal-fired plants without obtaining proper permits. The work resulted in an emissions increase, the complaint says. The parties entered into a settlement later in the morning. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker.

The 1,659-megawatt and 1,678-megawatt coal-fired plants in Jefferson and Independence counties will close by 2028 and 2030, respectively, and the 528-megawatt Lake Catherine natural gas-fired plant will close by 2027.

The coal-fired plants, referred to as White Bluff and Independence, are the two largest coal-fired power plants in the nation that lack modern emissions-reducing scrubbers, according to the Sierra Club. However, Entergy has invested in low-nitrogen oxide burners.

“If you install the scrubber, you’re going to keep the plants running for a long, long time,” said Kurt Castleberry, director of planning and marketing operations for Entergy Arkansas. But, replacing the coal-fired plants with renewable energy will cost less than the estimated $2 billion to eventually install scrubbers at both plants to comply with the regional haze rule, he said. “It’s a very good economic deal for our customers,” Castleberry said.

More: Entergy to phase out two coal-fired plants in Arkansas

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