Update: Entergy Arkansas proposes multiple transmission projects in southeast Arkansas

This article was amended on March 15 to include project information on the Woodward to Watson Chapel project, and to correct that the Monticello East to Watson Chapel to Woodward project comprise the Monticello East to Reed project and the Woodward to Watson Chapel project. The article was originally published March 1, 2013, at 5:13 p.m.

Entergy Arkansas is planning to build several transmission projects in southeast Arkansas to enhance reliability and meet growing electricity demand in the area. 

Among them is the Monticello East to Reed project, a $49m, 22-mile 230-kV transmission line to improve reliability and meet growing electricity demand in Drew and Desha counties in southeast Arkansas.

“Demand for energy in the southeast Arkansas area is projected to continue to grow,” the company said in a brochure on the Monticello East to Reed project. “The present transmission infrastructure is insufficient to accommodate the required voltage levels and existing demand under certain contingencies in addition to the current growth rate projections.”

The line would run from the Monticello East substation in Monticello to the Reed switching station in Desha County. It would initially be operated at 115-kV and changed over to 230-kV at a later date in coordination with “other improvements to be constructed in southeast Arkansas,” the company said in a brochure on the project.

The other projects the company is working on include the new 115-kV, $26m AECC Dam #2 to Gillett project, the 230-kV, $32m Lake Village Bagby to Reed project, the 230-kV Woodward to Watson Chapel project and the $32m, 230-kV White Bluff to Woodward project. 

Entergy Arkansas on Feb. 20 filed for a certificate of environmental convenience and necessity (CECPN) for the 27-mile Lake Village Bagby to Reed line, which has an estimated in-service date of June 2017. The AECC Dam #2 to Gillett project has an estimated in-service date of June 1, 2016.

The Monticello East to Reed line will involve acquiring new right-of-way (ROW). For 230-kV lines, the ROW is 125 feet wide based on single-pole steel or concrete structures.

Entergy Arkansas will hold public informational meetings to seek input from potentially affected landowners and thereafter identify a route for the project. The company expects to apply for a CECPN, hold public hearings and obtain CECPN approval in 3Q-4Q13, and begin construction in 2Q-4Q14. The project has an estimated in-service date of summer 2015, according to Entergy Arkansas’ 2013-2017 final construction plan.

White Bluff to Woodward

The 230-kV White Bluff to Woodward line is proposed as a 17-mile, $32m project that would connect the existing White Bluff substation near Red Field to the existing Woodward substation in Pine Bluff.

The project will also involve acquiring new ROW. Currently there are 89 optional transmission line segments. The company will identify a route after seeking input from potentially affected landowners, area residents and community leaders.

The project will help avoid potential NERC violations and help the company avoid power outages.

“[T]he 230/115 kV Woodward substation is a major substation in the Pine Bluff area and under certain contingencies, transmission low voltages occur in the 115 kV transmission network in Pine Bluff and south along the extremely long 115 kV lines connecting to the 230 kV source at Lake Village,” the company said in a brochure on the project. “A bus-tie breaker fault or stuck bus-tie breaker at Woodward will clear the entire 115 kV bus causing major outages for the area. Loss of the single 115 kV north bus at Woodward causes the 115 kV line from White Bluff to Arsenel ‘D’ to Woodward to over load, which also causes low voltages in Pine Bluff that extend to the Camden, Monticello, and Dumas areas.”

The project has an estimated in-service date of summer 2016, with construction beginning at the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015. The company plans to file for a CECPN in 2Q14.

Woodward to Watson Chapel

Entergy Arkansas will build a 3-mile, 230-kV line from the Woodward substation to the Watson Chapel substation, which will require purchasing new ROW or upgrading the existing 115-kV line using existing ROW, according to a brochure on the project. 

“The proposed project will consist of rebuilding the Woodward to Watson Chapel 115 kV line to increase the capacity of the line and provide for future operation at 230 kV (although, initially the line will be operated at 115 kV),” Entergy Arkansas said in the brochure. 

The project facilities will provide a 230-kV transmission source that will furnish back-up power and maintenance capability to the area through substations located in Pine Bluff, Monticello, McGehee, Stuttgart, Helena and Lake Village. These substations connect directly or indirectly with the White Bluff Steam Electric Station, Ritchie Steam Electric Station, Gerald Andrus Steam Electric Station and the AECC Dam #2 Hydro Electric Station generation plants.

“These improvements will protect the southeast Arkansas area from potential under-voltages and thermal overlaod problems that would result from the loss of a single line contingency, and also will facilitate needed periodic maintenance outages to the existing Entergy Arkansas transmission system,” the company said.

The Woodward to Watson Chapel project is estimated to cost $5m. According to the project timeline, a CECPN is expected in 3Q13, with construction beginning in 4Q13 and completing in 1Q14-2Q14. 

Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy (NYSE:ETR).

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.