SWEPCO Appeals Court Decision - and Proceeds with Construction at Coal Plant
LCG, July 1, 2009--Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) requested the Arkansas Supreme Court to review last week's court decision aimed to block further development of the proposed John W. Turk Jr. electric generating station, a 600-MW, coal-fired project in Hempstead County, Arkansas.
Local landowners appealed a November 2007 decision by the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) to grant a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (CECPN) to construct the plant. On June 24, the Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled in favor of local landowners that the APSC's review of SWEPCO's proposed coal-fired project was inadequate.
According to a SWEPCO spokesperson, "The APSC approval was overturned because the court objected to the approval procedure and not because the judges objected to the Turk Plant. We believe the Turk Plant holds the best future for long-term reliability and affordable power for our customers."
Construction on the project began late last year, after the air permit was received from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality in November 2008.
SWEPCO will continue construction. A SWEPCO spokesperson stated, "By law, the CECPN issued by the APSC remains in effect during the appeal process."
The estimated cost of the ultra-supercritical, advanced coal project is $1.6 billion, and project construction and spending is advancing at a rapid pace. According to a SWEPCO spokesperson, "Approximately $713 million has already been spent on plant construction, and a total of $1.3 billion has been committed. It would cost even more to stop construction and then restart it."
SWEPCO also has customers in Louisiana and Texas. In March 2008, the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) unanimously approved SWEPCO's request to build the plant, including a requirement for SWEPCO to prepare and submit a study that identifies potential, cost-effective energy efficiency and load management programs for SWEPCO's Louisiana customers. The Public Utility Commission of Texas approved the proposal in July 2008.
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