LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - One of the state’s largest energy providers and an environmental group have reached an agreement to stop using coal at the Newark power plant and another in the state after the agreement was approved Thursday by a federal judge.
Both Entergy Arkansas and the Sierra Club had battled in court for several years on the issue.
Among the plants to stop using coal include the White Bluff power plant in Redfield, which is expected to stop by the end of 2028; the Independence power plant in Newark by the end of 2030 and the Lake Catherine 4 natural gas generator plant to be retired by the end of 2027.
According to a report from content partner Talk Business & Politics, an agreement was reached in Nov. 2018 on the issue.
On Thursday, both sides said the issue was key for business and the environment.
“This final ruling is an affirmation of our plans for the future. It allows us to move forward with implementing measures to comply with the Arkansas State Implementation Plan that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved in 2018,” Kurt Castleberry, director, resource planning and market operations for Entergy Arkansas, LLC, said in a media release.
“The settlement finalized today shows that our agreement to close massive polluting power plants is a win, win, win for Arkansans. The agreement will save utility customers up to $2 billion, reduce and eventually eliminate air pollution from two of the dirtiest coal plants in the country, and boost our economy with new renewable energy investments,” Sierra Club Arkansas Chapter Director Glen Hooks said.
In the statement to Region 8 News, Entergy Arkansas said the agreement is part of a plan to replace older plants with newer, more efficient energy sources.
Hooks said the coal plants had created health concerns in the past, and the closing will help those people impacted.
“The Independence and White Bluff coal plants are two of the largest unscrubbed coal plants in the nation. Their closures will combine to prevent 192 deaths, 111 heart attacks, and 1,249 asthma attacks each year. I encourage Entergy Arkansas’ CEO, Laura Landreaux, to accelerate the closure of these plants because it will save lives. Replacing electric capacity with renewable energy and energy efficiency is the cleanest, safest and most affordable way for Entergy Arkansas to power its customers,” Hooks said.
Entergy Arkansas countered that they are working to provide clean energy.
“Entergy Arkansas’ plan is a key step in Entergy Corporation’s ongoing strategy to transform the company’s generation portfolio to better meet customers’ needs today and in the future with cleaner, highly efficient resources of electricity. Options for renewable energy under the agreement may include solar, geothermal, run-of-the-river hydroelectric and wind power, including both commercial- and residential-scale projects (e.g., rooftop solar) and energy storage technologies,” Entergy Arkansas said in the media release. “Entergy operates one of the cleanest large-scale generating fleets in the country, and we recently announced we are taking another significant step toward a lower carbon future with a commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”