AECC Dedicates Wrightsville Power Plant

The Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation on Tuesday dedicated its 548-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant at Wrightsville and named the plant in honor of Harry L. Oswald, the cooperative's first general manager and rural electrification pioneer.

Oswald, who died on Dec. 18, 2006, worked for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. from 1948 to 1980 as the cooperatives' general manager.

"Mr. Oswald's contributions to the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are paramount but perhaps most importantly, was his dedication to bringing electric service to Arkansans," Gary Voigt, president/CEO of AECC/AECI, said in a news release. "He often said that his happiest memories were witnessing electricity being brought into homes for the first time."

AECC purchased the Wrightsville plant from Mirant, an Atlanta-based energy company, for $85 million in 2005. It has nine generators - seven combustion turbines and two steam turbines.

With the plant, AECC has 2,977 megawatts of generating capacity. In addition to the new plant, AECC owns and operates three hydropower plants on the Arkansas River, three natural gas/oil-fired plants, one simple-cycle natural gas-fired plant, and owns/leases portions of three coal-fired plants. During the past 18 years, AECC has invested nearly $600 million in expansion and upgrades to its generation capacity.

Little Rock-based AECC is a generation and transmission cooperative owned by the state's 17 electric distribution cooperatives. AECC supplies wholesale electricity to those 17 cooperatives.

Arkansas' electric cooperatives provide electricity on the retail level to more than 480,000 customers, or members, in Arkansas and surrounding states.