FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) _ The Sebastian County Judge has signed off on revenue bonds for two coal-fired power plants at Fort Chaffee with an estimated price of $2.5 billion.
Fort Chaffee Public Trust executive director Phil Reeves told the county's Quorum Court on Tuesday that the trust will assign the bonds to the company building the plants. Reeves also said the county won't be responsible for the debt.
The plants will produce 750 megawatts each, will employ a total of about 500 people and will share a 750-acre plot. The 1.5 gigawatt total output is three times the 500 megawatts now used by the Fort Smith grid, Reeves said. Construction is expected to start in about a year and will take about five years to complete.
Oklahoma City-based OG&E will be the power distributor and an out-of-state utility company will build and manage the facility, Reeves said. Because of ongoing negotiations, Reeves would not name the out-of-state utility.
Reeves said the new, efficient plants will drive more expensive power from the grid. He added that the plants could result in creation of more local coal mines, bringing more jobs.
The power plant at Fort Chaffee is among several newly announced power plants in Arkansas. Others include a 720-megawatt hydroelectric plant near Paris, a 153-megawatt natural gas-fired plant in Fulton and two natural gas-fired plants in Dell, one producing 600 megawatts and the other 540 megawatts.