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Energy in Arkansas

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Energy in Arkansas

Energy needs in the U.S. state of Arkansas are served by 41 electric and four natural gas utilities.[1]

Regulation

The Arkansas Public Service Commission oversees all four of the state's natural gas utilities and 22 of its electric utilities. The commission lacks authority over 15 municipal providers.[2]

Policy

Property assessed clean energy (PACE)
Arkansas passed property assessed clean energy (PACE) legislation in 2013. The law enables bonds to be issued in voluntarily created energy improvement districts to fund low-interest loans for energy or water efficiency upgrades or renewable energy.[3] Cities Fayetteville and North Little Rock have since formed local energy improvement districts.[4]

Net metering
Net metering rules in the state were first established by the Arkansas Public Service Commission in 2002 and were expanded in 2007.[5] Energy generated by renewable systems up to 25 kilowatts for residential customers and up to 300 kilowatts for nonresidential is eligible. Under the law, utilities grant customers credits for excess energy fed to the grid. Unused credits at the end of a billing year are usable in the next billing year up to the customer's four-month average use in the previous year. Any additional credits are forfeited to the utility.[6]

Efficiency

Arkansas ranked 17th among fellow states in 2011 for overall per capita energy consumption.[7] The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked Arkansas 37th among the most energy-efficient states in 2013 and 2012.[8]

Electricity

Arkansas consumed 48,194 million kilowatt hours in 2010.[9] The average electric rate in December 2013 for residential customers in Arkansas was $0.09 per kilowatt hour. Industrial and commercial customers paid $0.06 and $0.08 per kilowatt hour respectively.[10] In 2012, the state exported 131 trillion more BTUs of electricity than it imported.[11]

Generation

Arkansas 2012 net power generation by fuel source.[12]
Fuel Percentage (% change from 2011)
Coal
44(-4.2)
Natural gas
26(+5.2)
Nuclear
24(+0.7)
Hydroelectric
3.4(-1.5)
Biomass
2.5(-0.2)
Petroleum
0.05(-0.04)
Other
0.05(-0.006)

Arkansas had 15,981 megawatts of net summer generating capacity in 2010; of that, 4,493 megawatts were in non-utility independent power producers.[13] In 2012, the state's electrical power industry generated 65,005,678 megawatt hours.[12]

Generation facilities providing public power in the state include:

The state is home to the John W. Turk Jr. Coal Plant, which came online in 2012 as the first sustained ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant in the United States.[14]

Arkansas total electric industry generation in megawatt hours by fuel type, 1990–2012.

Emissions
In 2011, Arkansas' power industry released 35,925,947 metric tons of carbon dioxide, 80,361 metric tons of sulfur dioxide and 41,347 metric tons of nitrous oxide, putting it at 25th among state power industries with the most greenhouse gas emissions.[15] Arkansas ranked 16th-highest in 2010 for per capita energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.[16]

Renewables
Solar power in Arkansas and wind power in Arkansas are largely undeveloped.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates the state has 9,200 megawatts of potential wind power capacity at 80 meters.[17] A 2010 report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance estimated Arkansas could generate 19 percent of its 2007 energy need solely from rooftop solar photovoltaics.[18]

Arkansas lacks utility-scale solar power installations, and is one of 11 U.S. states without utility-scale wind power.[19] Notable small-scale solar power installations include rooftop photovoltaics on the Fayetteville Public Library and the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.

The state is 14th among states with the most installed hydroelectric generating capacity and 16th with the most generation from biomass. In 2011, hydroelectric installations generated 2,992 million kilowatt hours, while 1,668 million kilowatt hours were generated from biomass, mostly from wood products.[20]

Providers

Arkansas' electric providers include four investor-owned utilities and a number of municipal and regional cooperative providers. Generation and transmission cooperative Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation provides wholesale energy to 17 regional member cooperatives in the state.[1]

Natural gas

Natural gas extraction from Arkansas' Fayetteville Shale, 2000–2013.

Production

The Fayetteville Shale, a narrow Mississippian age geological formation that runs across the center of the state, accounts for nearly all of Arkansas natural gas production. Proven reserves of natural gas in the state were estimated at 11,039 billion cubic feet in 2012, revised down from 16,374 in 2011.[21]

Marketed natural gas production in Arkansas more than doubled from 2008 to 2010. In 2012, extraction amounted to 1.14 million cubic feet, up from 447,082 million in 2007.[22] Arkansas accounted for 4.5 percent of U.S. production of marketed natural gas in 2012.[11]

Fracking
More than 1,000 minor earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 in Greenbrier led to the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission to close several hydraulic fracturing wells. Scientists at the University of Memphis and the Arkansas Geological Survey determined the quakes were likely caused by underground fracking wastewater disposal. Local residents filed five lawsuits in federal court against Chesapeake Operating Inc and BHP Billiton.[23]

Providers

Crude oil

Production

Oil drilling began in south Arkansas in 1920 with the Hunter No. 1 well installed in Ouachita County. Commercial oil production began in 1921 with the S.T. Busey well in Union County near El Dorado.[24]

Proven reserves of crude oil in the state were estimated at 55 million barrels in 2012, revised up from 40 million barrels in 2011.[21]

See also

References

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