Power On the White River

March 13, 2007 - Posted at 6:02 CDT

BATESVILLE, AR -- The Independence County Hydroelectric Project - it's a story K8 News discussed during last month's spotlight on Independence County.

The project has been in the works for more than two decades but Tuesday the second of three plants became operational. With a flip of a switch, the White River began to produce electricity at lock and dam number two.

Rita Potts of the White River Hydroelectric Projects feels it is a big day for county residents.

"I think they were truly pleased with what they have seen and the prospects for the future of the county associated with this project," said Potts.

Tuesday's big event was the second of three hydro plants stationed along the White River that will produce electricity for the city of Clarksville, Arkansas.

It's something Hugh Harrison of Clarksville Light and Water Company says the town is fortunate to have.

"From an economics standpoint, even today the electricity this unit is producing is a little cheaper than what it is replacing," said Harrison, "It's a method of making energy whose time has come."

The power generated in Independence County will account for around 20% for Clarksville. It's a project that should prove to be a win-win for all parties.

"We think we are setting a standard here of renewable energy and a source of income that is not tax related," said Potts.

The project is funded from bonds that should generate around $200,000 a year for the county. The third Hydro Electric Plant located in Batesville should be fully operational by the end of May.