Entergy Arkansas Announces 250 MW Solar Facility Near Osceola

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas, Oct. 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Arkansas Public Service Commission has approved the Entergy Arkansas Driver Solar Project, a new 250 megawatt AC (or 312 MW DC) renewable energy facility developed by Lightsource bp, which will be located on approximately 2,100 acres near Osceola in Mississippi County. Driver Solar will be the utility’s largest solar installation, capable of generating enough energy to power more than 40,000 homes.

“Driver Solar adds highly cost-effective renewable generation to our portfolio, further diversifying our energy mix in a way that meets the changing expectations of our customers,” said Laura Landreaux, President and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. “It’s a key contribution to expanding business in northeast Arkansas, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

She said, “We listen to our customers as we develop and execute our production strategy for the future. We are privileged to be able to work closely with US Steel Corporation to develop sustainable solutions to help them achieve their goal of producing steel from renewable energy. electricity while simultaneously reducing long-term rates for Entergy Arkansas’ more than 728,000 customers. »

The Driver Solar site is located along Arkansas Highway 61 near Carson Lake Road and Arkansas Highway 198, just south of Osceola, and will be adjacent to both the Big River Steel plant in US Steel and the recently announced $3 billion expansion. Lightsource bp has completed development and licensing of the solar field and will construct the facility under a construction transfer agreement with Entergy Arkansas. Driver Solar has an expected completion date of late 2024.

Richard Fruehauf, Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer, US Steel, said, “This project with Entergy Arkansas and Lightsource bp illustrates the importance of partnerships. Driver Solar not only helps us achieve our strong sustainability goals, but it will also help us provide sustainable steel solutions for our customers. The renewable energy generated will power the production of verdeXTM, our advanced sustainable steel product made from up to 90% recycled steel, as well as other products manufactured at our Big River Works plant.

Together with its joint venture partner bp, Lightsource bp has been providing clean, safe and reliable energy at competitive prices for businesses and communities in the United States and around the world since 2010. Lightsource bp was recently named the top developer solar in the world by Mercom Capital The partners.

In November 2021, Lightsource bp and bp announced a landmark supply agreement with US company First Solar Inc. for 5.4 gigawatts of First Solar modules. First Solar produces US-made solar modules at its fully vertically integrated manufacturing complex in Ohio.

The 250 megawatts of the Driver Solar project will be generated using advanced ultra-low carbon thin-film modules manufactured by First Solar. In addition to modules supplied by Tempe-based First Solar, the facility will be built with solar trackers made by Albuquerque-based Array Technologies.

“The Driver Solar project is another demonstration of how solar power can power our nation’s industry with clean, reliable, and cost-competitive electricity,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource bp for the Americas. .

“Arkansas’ largest solar project will help build sustainable American-made steel, as well as create hundreds of jobs in the United States in construction and across the supply chain. “

Landreaux said, “With their leadership in the solar industry and their commitment to supporting domestic manufacturing, we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to work with Lightsource bp.

Driver Solar is expected to create between 350 and 400 jobs during the construction phase, using local labor and contractors.

Upon completion, Entergy Arkansas plans to employ outside services for site maintenance, such as land management and vegetation control, operations, office rent, crew payroll, and other items. likely to have a local impact. Local businesses such as restaurants and stores may also indirectly benefit from the infusion of workers and construction activity during this time, company officials said.

In addition, property taxes associated with Entergy Arkansas’ ownership of the Project are conservatively estimated to average approximately $1.2 million for Mississippi County per year over the life of the Project, or approximately $36 million. dollars in 30 years.

Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said, “Driver Solar enables US Steel to grow its business in Arkansas, achieve its sustainability goals, and further demonstrate how the state of ‘Arkansas and Entergy Arkansas support businesses that provide well-paying jobs in the state. “

Entergy Arkansas already operates one of the cleanest power generation portfolios in the country.

This generation is primarily emission-free due to the significant amounts of nuclear, hydroelectric and solar generation in the portfolio. In addition to its solar power, Entergy Arkansas currently owns or operates two carbon-free nuclear generation units, which supply 60% of the company’s generation needs.

And his generation will get even cleaner over time. To meet customer demands and as outlined in the Integrated Resource Plan, Entergy Arkansas plans to replace a portion of our legacy natural gas resources in the coming years and all of our coal resources by 2030 with primarily renewable resources. which will provide the necessary emissions without emissions. electricity production to meet the load and energy needs of our customers.

The Driver Solar project is another important step in modernizing Entergy Arkansas’ power generation portfolio, helping to meet customer needs for cleaner, more efficient and diverse energy solutions.

In addition to providing the benefits of zero-emissions production, the project will promote biological diversity and sustainability by hosting two monarch butterfly habitat areas exceeding 70 acres.

Entergy Arkansas is adding more renewable energy generation facilities to serve its customers and communities with more clean energy in the years to come. Earlier this year, the company launched a request for proposals for 1,000 MW of wind and solar resources. In June 2022, Entergy Corporation discussed plans for up to 7 gigawatts of renewable resources by the end of 2025, and up to 14 to 17 gigawatts of renewable resources by the end of 2031.

To learn more about the growth of our renewable energy production, visit entergy.com/renewable energy.

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