Thursday, March 22, 2007

New Coal and Natural Gas Power Plants in Arkansas and the South.

I was out to visit a new natural gas power plant in Tontitown Arkansas yesterday. Looked up some info, you can find articles here and here. The first deals with the Tontitown plant and the second deals with the larger SWEPCO network over Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

I got to see some of the plans, and you can see the substation that has already been built next to it on Google Earth here. The plant will appear in that (now enlarged) dirt area to the left of the substation. The article states that there will be two gas turbines and one combined cycle steam turbine, but on the plan, I saw a fourth unit of the same size. I believe the turbines will be GE 7FA units but I could be wrong. I am definitely sure of the 7 though. Notice the Tyson chicken farm right next to the plant.

Now I am definitely more ok with the natural gas peaking plants than I am with the coal mainline plants because of reasons listed before. And, I am much happier about a natural gas plant being a few tens of miles from my home rather than a coal one. But, that ignores the availability of wind power close enough to here to be useful. Any US wind resources map you look at will show you class 3 wind resources in two separate areas, on both sides of the River Valley. And I know there are not alot of people that live on those areas because they are mountainous (for Arkansas that is.) Additionally, there is a huge portion of Texas that contains class 3 and 4 wind, not to mention Oklahoma.

It is refreshing however to hear of more wind turbines going up in Oklahoma and Texas though. And I'll tell ya, it was very enlightening to find out how much more efficient George W. Bush's house is than Al Gore's.


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