Energy in Arkansas

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


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]


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]


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]


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]


Arkansas 2012 net power generation by fuel source.[12]
Fuel Percentage (% change from 2011)
Natural gas

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.

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]


For more details on this topic, see Solar power in Arkansas.

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]


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[edit]

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


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]

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]


Crude oil[edit]


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[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Utilities in Arkansas". Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Electric Utilities the Commission Regulates". Arkansas Public Service Commission. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ "PACE Arkansas Initiative (SB 640)" (PDF). Arkansas Advanced Energy Association. February 2013. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ "NLR Adopts PACE Act, Creates Energy Improvement District". Innovate Arkansas. March 25, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Energy Policy & Legislation". Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Net Metering Rules". Arkansas Public Service Commission. September 2013. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Arkansas Energy Consumption". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  8. ^ "2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard" (PDF). The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Arkansas Electricity Generation". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Electric Power Monthly: Data for December 2013". U.S. Energy Information Administration. February 21, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Quick Facts". U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Net Generation by State by Type of Producer by Energy Source (EIA-906, EIA-920, and EIA-923" (XLS). U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  13. ^ "2010 Summary Statistics" (PDF). U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  14. ^ "SWEPCO's John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant Begins Commercial Operation December 20 in SW Arkansas". Southwestern Electric Power Company. December 20, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  15. ^ "U.S. Electric Power Industry Estimated Emissions by State" (XLS). U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Per capita energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by state (2000 - 2010)" (XLS). U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Estimates of Windy Land Area and Wind Energy Potential, by State, for areas >= 30% Capacity Factor at 80m" (XLS). U.S. Department of Energy. April 13, 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Energy Self-Reliant States" (PDF). Institute for Local Self-Reliance. May 2010. p. 12. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  19. ^ "2013 Year End Wind Power Capacity (MW)". U.S. Department of Energy. 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Electricity Generation from Renewable Energy in Arkansas". U.S. Department of Energy. March 27, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, 2012" (PDF). U.S. Energy Information Administration. April 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production". U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Insight: Arkansas lawsuits test fracking wastewater link to quakes". Reuters. August 27, 2013. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Crude Oil". Arkansas Geological Survey. Retrieved June 15, 2014.