SWEPCO Says It Will Build Coal-Powered Plant in Fulton, Arkansas

SWEPCO Says It Will Build Coal-Powered Plant in Fulton, Arkansas

August 12, 2006 Filed Under: Coal Mining, Mining Services  

Southwestern Electric Power Co. said that a coal-fueled, 600-megawatt power plant will be built on a site near Fulton in southwest Arkansas.

The $1.3 billion plant announced Wednesday by SWEPCO is part of a plan that includes gas-powered plants at Tontitown in northwestern Arkansas and at Shreveport, La. The plant near Fulton, in Hempstead County, would run on coal mined in Wyoming. Plant costs are to be spread among SWEPCO customers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

“This announcement brings much needed generation to the Ark-La-Tex area and, along with it, upgrades to the transmission system that will vastly improve the ability to move power in this region,” said Michael G. Morris, chairman, president and chief executive officer of American Electric Power, SWEPCO’s parent.

The plant is expected to begin producing power in 2011.

Fulton was competing for the plant against Hallsville, Texas, where SWEPCO already has a plant.

The Hempstead County plant will use pulverized coal technology, which requires the use of less coal and produces fewer emissions to turn out the same amount of power, SWEPCO said. The plant will use coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, as do major coal-fired power plants operated by Entergy Arkansas at White Bluff, north of Pine Bluff, and at Newark, between Batesville and Newport in Independence County.

“SWEPCO believes a coal-fueled plant is the best choice … to fuel the future growth of the economies in our region, allow us to remain a low-cost provider, and prevent over-reliance on natural gas for electricity generation,” said Nick Akins, SWEPCO’s president and chief operating officer.

Construction will begin once necessary regulatory approvals are obtained in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. SWEPCO already holds an option to purchase the land where the plant will be built.

The plant will create between 1,000-1,400 construction jobs and bring an estimated 110 permanent jobs to the area.

SWEPCO, a division of Columbus, Ohio-based AEP, has 112,000 customers in western Arkansas.

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