SWEPCO says it will build coal-powered plant in Fulton

SWEPCO says it will build coal-powered plant in Fulton

Thursday, August 10th 2006

Southwestern Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it would build a new coal-fueled, 600-megawatt power plant north of Fulton in Hempstead County.

The $1.3 billion plant is part of a plan that includes gas-powered plants at Tontitown and at Shreveport, La. The plant near Fulton 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 produce the same amount of power, SWEPCO said. The plant will use coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

“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.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., also said the new power plant will help stimulate the economy and may attract other industries to the area.

“Construction of a new power plant will pave the way for population growth and new job opportunities, sustain existing business, and provide an incentive for future industrial development in the southwest Arkansas area,” Lincoln said.

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.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)

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