Arkansas Energy

Environmental officials and utilities plan a public meeting to discuss new federal regulations designed to reduce the nation's carbon emissions.

Under the plan announced this month by President Barack Obama, Arkansas's goal is to cut emissions by nearly 45 percent by 2030. Arkansas gets about half its electricity from coal-fired power plants.

A meeting is set at which utilities and Arkansas officials are to discuss new federal rules that are to reduce carbon pollution.

The state Public Service Commission and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality are to hold the public meeting at 9 a.m. June 25 at the ADEQ office in North Little Rock.

The new federal rules restrict carbon pollution from existing power plants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to have a final set of rules in place by July 1, 2015.

A group of 15 linemen from electric cooperatives across Arkansas have returned home after spending nearly a month in Guatemala where they helped bring electricity to remote villages in the Central American country.

The group arrived in Guatemala on March 26 - then traveled about nine hours to the remote villages of Las Flores and La Hacienta to bring electricity to the area.

Advocates from Entergy Arkansas are visiting with congressional leaders to urge increasing funding for an energy assistance program for the poor.

Advocates planned to visit Washington Wednesday to push for increased funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides assistance for needs such as energy bills.

Entergy says cuts in funding for the federal program from $5.1 billion in 2009 to $3.4 billion have limited the level of assistance available for more than 340,000 qualifying households in Arkansas.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A company that will manage operations of Entergy Arkansas’s power grid, broke ground on a new facility in Little Rock Friday. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator or MISO, is establishing a regional headquarters that it says will employ 50 people at average salaries of 85,000 dollars a year.

Local elected officials and company representatives gathered in the middle of a dusty construction site in West Little Rock to move dirt with golden shovels and give a ceremonial blessing to the arrival MISO’s new facility in Arkansas

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses remain without electricity after wintry weather hit Arkansas.

Entergy Arkansas says about 38,000 customers were without power Wednesday morning. Garland County had the highest number of outages at more than 5,800. Crittenden County reported more than 4,100 outages and Conway County had about 3,300 outages. Cross County reported more than 3,100 outages.

Outages of more than 2,000 customers were reported in Mississippi, Montgomery and St. Francis counties.

A Denver-based energy company says it will invest $80 million this year to drill about 50 natural gas wells in south Arkansas.

Bonanza Creek Energy Inc. says the wells will be drilled in the McKamie Patton and Dorcheat-Macedonia fields, which are located in Columbia and Lafayette counties.

Arkansas Business reports infrastructure projects and saltwater disposal wells will account for an additional $4.5 million of planned capital.

Bonanza Creek has operations in the Wattenberg Field in Colorado and the Cotton Valley sands of southern Arkansas.

Frank Burggraf
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

As many as 60,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas were without power at one point this past weekend because of the winter storm.

Above-ground electrical transmission and distribution lines are vulnerable to failure from heavy wet snow, dense ice and high winds.

Some advocates say it’s time to move those lines underground.  But that is much more expensive and many utility customers don't want to pay higher electric bills.

Jacqueline Froelich with Fayetteville station KUAF has a look at the debate.  You can hear her report above.

More than 37,000 homes and businesses are without electricity as a wintry storm hits the state.

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark reported about 12,000 outages Friday morning, while SWEPCO had more than 11,000 outages in northwest Arkansas in Sebastian, Polk, Scott and Logan counties. Oklahoma Gas and Electric reported an additional 2,000 outages in Fort Smith, 1,200 outages in Charleston and more than 1,100 in Lavaca.

Crews from Entergy Arkansas are heading to Virginia to help restore electricity knocked out during this week's storms.

Entergy Arkansas is sending 87 employees to Virginia, including 50 linemen. The utility says Dominion Virginia Power requested assistance from Entergy.

At its peak, severe storms with high winds and hail knocked out power to 285,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers.

As of Friday morning, that number had dropped to 95,000 outages, with most in the Richmond and southeastern Virginia regions.

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