Entergy Arkansas abandons plan to add gas turbines and turns to more renewable resources

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Entergy Arkansas is moving away from previous plans to add natural gas-fired turbines this decade in favor of more renewable resources, according to its 2021 Integrated Resource Plan.

Environmentalists in the region have said the change will reduce demand for fracking gas used in these turbine operations. Hydraulic fracturing, or hydraulic fracturing, is a technique used to enable the extraction of natural gas or oil from certain types of rocks.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council website, many national conservationists oppose fracking, stressing that it “poses serious threats to our health, our environment and our climate future.”

Entergy Arkansas – the state’s largest electricity transmission and utility owner – filed its long-term energy plan with the Arkansas Utilities Commission on October 29.

More than 722,000 residential, commercial, industrial and government customers in 63 counties of Arkansas rely on Entergy for their power needs.

The Integrated Resource Plan, or IRP, is required every three years by the commission, which regulates service and utility rates subject to its jurisdiction in Arkansas.

[DOCUMENT: Read Entergy’s updated Integrated Resources Plan » arkansasonline.com/118entergyirp/]

The document covered from 2023 to 2042 and aims to provide an overview of the company’s long-term planning process to meet future energy demand and needs. It also includes action plans starting this year, such as finalizing the acquisitions of the solar facilities at Searcy, Walnut Bend and West Memphis as construction is complete and preparing for the decommissioning of Unit 4 of the Lake Catherine gas plant in 2025.

Entergy spokesperson Brandi Hinkle said by email that the company’s analysis for the 2021 Integrated Resource Plan has shown that renewable resources represent the best combination of cost, reliability and sustainability. to meet the load and energy needs of Entergy customers in Arkansas.

Plans filed with the commission in 2018 called for a gas plant to be built this decade, but that is not in the plans for 2021.

“Abolition of the CCGT on natural gas [combined cycle gas turbines] of Entergy Arkansas’ previous resource plan and its replacement with zero emission renewable resources provided better economy and increased environmental benefits for our customers, ”Hinkle said via email.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a powerful greenhouse gas that, over a 20-year period, absorbs 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide, which is why the Sierra Club has spoken out against these investments as a stakeholder in the planning process, according to a November 3 press release from the environmental organization.

“It is good to see Entergy moving away from a substantial investment in fracking natural gas in its final IRP compared to its original project. The risks of the gas are well documented, including volatile price spikes and the widespread failure during the February frost, environmental destruction by hydraulic fracturing and the release of hazardous methane emissions during gas extraction, transport and combustion, ”said Glen Hooks, director of the Arkansas section of the Sierra Club.

Hooks said gas is not a bridge to a sustainable future and must be excluded from utility targets to achieve net zero emissions due to climate change.

“Because IRPs are not binding, I hope Entergy Arkansas will avoid gas investments in the future and focus on a clean energy portfolio capable of delivering reliable and inexpensive energy to its customers.” , did he declare.

Entergy officials have said they plan to reduce carbon emissions from its operations over the next three decades to zero by 2050, according to the 2021 Integrated Resource Plan and previous statements.


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