Entergy Arkansas answers questions about White Bluff status

An Entergy Arkansas Inc. (EAI) official on Oct. 7 told the Arkansas Public Service Commission that a new transmission line that would have a terminus point at the coal-fired White Bluff Steam Electric Station (WBSES) is not dependent on that power plant being in operation over the long term.

Entergy Arkansas representative Kyle Watson was responding to a commission question in the power line case, which began in May with an application by the utility for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility. The commission on Sept. 24 directed that the testimony should specifically address the impact of possible retrofit, other modifications, or retirement regarding the WBSES on the need and route of the proposed transmission facilities. Entergy Arkansas hasn’t specifically said, to this point, what it plans to do with White Bluff over the long term.

White Bluff Units 1 and 2, located at Redfield, Arkansas, total 1,657 MW of capacity. Entergy Arkansas owns 57% of each unit.

“The Proposed Electrical Facilities would provide a new 230 kV transmission source that would connect with, and furnish back-up power and maintenance capability to, substations in Pine Bluff and in the southeast and south-central portion of EAI’s service territory, including substations located in Watson Chapel, Monticello, Warren, Hermitage, Crossett, Dumas, Reed, McGehee, and Lake Village,” said Watson. “These substations connect directly or indirectly with EAI’s Ouachita Steam Electric Station; Entergy Louisiana, LLC’s Sterlington Steam Electric Station; the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation’s Dam #2 Hydro Electric Station on the Arkansas River; Entergy Mississippi, Inc.’s Gerald Andrus Steam Electric Station; and the WBSES. These improvements would protect the southeast and south-central Arkansas areas from potential under-voltages and thermal overload problems that would result from the loss of a single  transmission line contingency and also would facilitate needed periodic maintenance outages to the existing EAI transmission facilities.”

This project is being coordinated with an overall expansion of the transmission facilities for the southeast region of Arkansas.

Said Watson: “The Proposed Electrical Facilities are needed for the reliability reasons stated above and are not dependent on the future of the WBSES. The Proposed Electrical Facilities would provide a connection from the 500 kV transmission system to the 230 kV and 115 kV systems in the Pine Bluff area. The White Bluff 500 kV Substation is the closest and most cost-effective point to connect the Pine Bluff area to the 500 kV transmission system. Regardless of the future of the WBSES, the White Bluff 500 kV Substation will remain operational.”

Said the Midcontinent ISO’s Laura Rauch in Oct. 7 supporting testimony: “MISO concurs with EAI’s Transmission Planning Department that the Proposed Transmission Project is needed, and this conclusion does not depend on the status of White Bluff.”

Entergy Arkansas says with this project it needs to construct and operate a new 23-mile, 230-kV transmission line and high voltage terminal facilities between the existing Woodward 230/115 kV Substation and the existing White Bluff 500/115 kV Substation.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.