Entegra Power Group, which owns and operates a natural gas fired power plant in El Dorado, told the Arkansas Public Service Commission they could produce more power - cleaner, and for less money - than the existing White Bluff coal-fired power plant near Redfield, Ark. The White Bluff plant is owned by Entergy Arkansas, Inc. Entergy filed a petition with the PSC in March, seeking a declaratory order finding that new environmental controls were in the public interest and necessary for the plant to meet state regulations. These required improvements would cost, according to Entergy's estimate, $1.04 billion, which would come from rate-payers here in Arkansas.
Entegra filed a petition to intervene in the proceedings yesterday, saying the natural gas plant near Magnolia "is an existing reasonable capacity energy resource located within the state of Arkansas that... provides Entergy with a cleaner, lower cost alternative to White Bluff and the proposed environmental controls project."
The filing presents one more stumbling block for coal plants here and in other states. The natural gas plant, which lies dormant for most of the year, could meet the needs of White Bluff customers and would burn much cleaner, emitting approximately half of the carbon emissions.
Glen Hooks of the Sierra Club says, "The question is this: do Arkansas ratepayers spend a billion dollars to prolong the life of a dirty coal plant, or do we save that billion dollars by transitioning to an already-existing, cleaner-burning natural gas plant?. It makes environmental and economic sense to say no to coal."