ARKANSAS – Entergy Arkansas, a utility of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., will accept proposals to add 300 megawatts of solar and wind capacity to its electricity generating portfolio by 2026. This factors into a recently approved settlement agreement to begin the development of at least 400 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by the end of 2022.
On April 15, Entergy Arkansas issued its intent to request proposals to obtain about “300 megawatts of renewable resources that can provide cost-effective energy supply, fuel diversity and other benefits” to its customers. It expects to post proposal documents as early as June. Bidder registrations are expected to take place as soon as July. Those interested in providing proposals will have the opportunity to do so on Entergy’s website.
The renewable energy resources would be procured through a combination of build-own-transfer agreements, self-build alternatives and power purchase agreements, which would range from 10 to 20 years with an interest in 15-year or shorter delivery terms. Only solar photovoltaic and wind turbine resources would be eligible for the proposal. The minimum electricity generation capacity in any proposal would be 50 megawatts.
The build-own-transfer resources, whether solar or wind, would be required to be in the Arkansas portion of Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc. (MISO). The solar resources under the power purchase agreement must be located in either MISO or Southwest Power Pool Inc. (SPP). All energy generated under the agreement would be required to be Entergy Arkansas’ load.
The commercial operation date for the proposed projects would be no later than Oct. 31, 2025. Proposals can include a separately priced option for a battery energy storage system.
In March, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker approved the settlement agreement for Little Rock-based Entergy Arkansas to retire two coal-fired plants and a natural gas plant by the end of 2030. The agreement was between Entergy and environmental groups Sierra Club and National Parks Conservation Association.
“Our settlement avoids $2 billion in upgrades for polluting fossil fuel power plants and shifts those investments into affordable, reliable and clean renewable energy for Arkansans,” said Glen Hooks, director for the Arkansas Sierra Club. “Entergy’s long-range plan should focus on expanding renewable energy investments while avoiding the financial uncertainty and environmental problems pushing Entergy and other Arkansas utilities to transition toward clean energy and away from dirty fossil fuels.”
The agreement also shows that Entergy Arkansas is expected to begin developing renewable energy projects with a total capacity of 800 megawatts by Dec. 31, 2027. At least half of the capacity is expected to be in development by Dec. 31, 2022.
Following is a statement from Entergy Arkansas on the new proposal:
“On April 15, 2021, Entergy Arkansas issued notice of its intent to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for renewable resources targeting approximately 300 MW of total capacity. The request is expected to seek wind and solar resources located in either the Midcontinent Independent System Operator or Southwest Power Pool areas. Entergy Arkansas is targeting to issue the request as soon as June 2021.”
“This RFP is to add needed capacity to the Entergy Arkansas portfolio of resources that serve its customers’ electricity needs, while also increasing the amount of renewable emissions-free generation technologies in the portfolio. The resources selected out of this request would be in addition to the 561 MW of solar resources that are currently either in-service, under construction or in front of the Arkansas Public Service Commission. This level of renewables development is more than the settlement term that the co-owners of the White Bluff and Independence coal plants, including Entergy Arkansas, develop or proposed at least 400 MW of renewable capacity by 2022.”
Entergy Arkansas’ existing solar plants comprise about 181 megawatts. According to a list of renewable energy projects as of April 20, the proposed 300 megawatts of renewable energy capacity is expected to start operating in 2025 or 2026.
The project list also included a planned 180-megawatt West Memphis Solar plant in West Memphis that’s expected to be completed in 2023 and a planned 100-megawatt Walnut Bend Solar plant in Lee County that’s projected to be completed in 2022.
Its 100-megawatt Searcy Solar plant with 10 megawatts of battery energy storage is expected to be completed this year. Entergy Arkansas also has about 73 megawatts of hydroelectricity capacity, the list shows. Entergy is working toward a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.