Tour of new SWEPCO coal-fueled power plant in Hempstead County

    7:18 PM, Oct 17, 2011   |    comments
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    Rendering of John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant

    HEMPSTEAD COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) - We're getting a look at the Southwestern Electric Power Company's (SWEPCO) John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant in Hempstead County today.

    U.S. Congressman Mike Ross is touring the coal-fueled plant, along with several area local and elected officials and the media today.

    Here are some quick facts about the plant from the SWEPCO website:

    • Estimated completion date for the $1.7 billion 600-megawatt facility is October 2012.
    • SWEPCO's 73 percent share of the plant is $1.3 billion and 440 megawatts.
    • Construction of the plant began in November 2008 after the facility received an air permit.
    • Plant construction will create more than 1,900 jobs at the height of construction (work force
      stands at approximately 1,600 in Dec. 2010).
    • The plant will bring an estimated 110 permanent jobs to the area with an annual payroll
      projected to be $9 million. 

    THV's Matt Burhman had the opportunity to talk with Tim Gross, the Turk Plant manager.

    He says, "we're very proud to bring in this technology to this part of the state."

    He says the location in Hempstead Co. is ideal for a number of reasons. "Primarily because we need the generation in this part of the service area. But it's also great because we have access to Union Pacific main line to bring our fuel in on."

    One fascinating statistic: the plant receives a train shipment from Wyoming of 130 cars of coal, 120 tons of coal per car, at four trains a week: over 62-thousand tons of coal per week. The site even has reserve coal on site for a month's backup supply.

    Not much in the way of renewable energy right now. But U.S. Congressman Mike Ross says he's looking to the future.

    Ross says, "Not only is it creating about 2,000 jobs while we build it, it's going to create more than 100 permanent jobs once it's completed and comes online."

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