Eight months into retirement, former Entergy Arkansas Director of Resource Planning and Market Operations Kurt Castleberry has a new act — comedy.
“A wind turbine saw a solar panel at a party, he leaned in and shouted, ‘Hey, I’m a big fan.’” Folks, he’s here all week.
“How many solar panels does it take to change a lightbulb? None, they only work when the sun is out.”
Castleberry was on the line to talk about the long history of Arkansas Nuclear One for a feature that Arkansas Business published two weeks ago. But he also broke a little news on his consulting work and his replacement in the resource planning job at Entergy.
“Actually there has been [a replacement named],” Castleberry said. “It’s William Cunningham. He came on board a couple of months ago or so. He’ll do a fine job, better than I could ever have done.” Cunningham will lead Entergy Arkansas through its “resource transition,” the company said; he reports directly to CEO and President Laura Landreaux.
An Entergy veteran, having worked there for more than 20 years, Cunningham had been its finance director.
He has bachelor’s degrees in accounting from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and in electrical engineering from the University of Arkansas, as well as an MBA from the University of Central Arkansas and a master’s in electrical and computer engineering from Georgia Tech.
Castleberry said he’s been enjoying retirement. “I’ve got five grandkids, two of them in Atlanta and three of them here,” he said. “I’ve also been fortunate enough to continue to be involved with Entergy Arkansas on a consulting basis related to predominantly adding renewables and solar plants. I headed up resource planning for many, many years, so I continue to be involved a little bit as they transition to another leader.”
TPI Signs Deal With NLR
The city of North Little Rock has a deal with hometown company Today’s Power Inc. to develop a 5-megawatt solar project for its municipal utility, North Little Rock Electric.
The City Council approved the deal July 24, and TPI called it “a significant milestone” in the city’s sustainable energy program.
Today’s Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., will build the solar array and sell the power for 3.7 cents per kilowatt. The electric department’s general residential service rate is about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, and big users get substantially lower rates, though they pay more in fees.
Plans call for the solar plant to be within the city limits and interconnect directly with its grid.
Council members said TPI’s prices beat all other offers, and they praised TPI’s system design and speed. The project is expected to be complete by October 2024.
Mayor Terry Hartwick said the partnership puts North Little Rock Electric in the first rank of Arkansas’ municipal power utilities, with “a renewable energy portfolio that includes hydropower, solar power and methane gas.” He said the city is committed to adding sustainable energy at affordable rates.”
TPI President and CEO Derek Dyson said construction will begin next month, and the system will start delivering power next year. His company, he said, “believes the benefits of this collaboration will directly impact the energy sustainability goals of North Little Rock while also creating jobs, economic benefits, and providing competitive energy pricing.”