Little Rock-based Entergy Arkansas recently provided updates on a program that allows commercial and industrial customers to cover 100% of their electricity consumption with clean energy. The utility’s Go ZERO program is one among others that Arkansas electricity providers have to help customers meet energy and environmental goals.
So far, 11 customers have subscribed to the Go ZERO program, including the federal government. ZERO stands for zero emissions resource options. In August, Entergy Arkansas announced the Arkansas Public Service Commission approved the program via a tariff. Entergy Arkansas, a subsidiary of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., provides electricity to about 730,000 customers in 63 counties.
Still, Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) has offered a clean energy program since 2021. Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), the wholesale electricity provider for 17 electric cooperatives in Arkansas, doesn’t have a clean energy program tariff, according to spokesman Rob Roedel, but it’s sold renewable energy credits to some commercial customers to help them meet their renewable energy goals. Liberty Utilities doesn’t have a clean energy program for its Arkansas customers, but spokeswoman Meagan Spangler said it may seek regulatory approval to establish one.
According to a Feb. 1 news release, Go ZERO “allows customers to acquire green and clean energy attributes associated with the output of Entergy Arkansas’ existing emissions-free generation resources, as well as additional renewable energy resources as they come online.”
Arkansas Steel Associates is one of the first customers to cover 100% of their energy use through the program. According to the release, Arkansas Steel’s participation in the program exemplifies how Entergy Arkansas’ services provide economic development tools that support investment and employment opportunities in Arkansas.
“While Arkansas Steel Associates has been doing business in Newport for 35 years, it’s important to note that we also do business throughout North America. So having this green and clean energy option in Arkansas is really important to us and our customers,” said Tommy Okada, president and CEO of Arkansas Steel Associates. “Access to carbon-free and affordable electricity is a big advantage for doing business here.”
The generation sources available to program participants include nuclear and renewable resources, such as solar, hydro and wind. The program goal is to allow Entergy Arkansas customers in the public and private sectors to have “a cost-effective and reliable option for clean energy that matches their electricity consumption for all hours of the day,” the release shows.
“Programs like Go ZERO are a component of providing reliable, sustainable and affordable electric utility service to all our customers,” said Laura Landreaux, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. “These programs positively support green and clean energy investment here in the Natural State, and Entergy Arkansas is excited to see Arkansas Steel Associates, one of our largest customers, take advantage of our clean energy options. We work with our customers to develop options that meet their sustainability goals, and we are delighted to see this partnership succeed.”
Other program subscribers include All Weather Insulated Panels of Little Rock and the federal government, the nation’s largest energy consumer. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has a goal to use 100% clean energy by 2030. Over the past three years, the federal government has reached agreements to provide federal buildings in 16 states with 100% clean energy by 2030, according to a Friday (Feb. 9) news release. This will increase the government’s reliance on clean energy from 38% to 47%.
The following options are available to Go ZERO program participants:
- Subscription to asset-backed renewable energy credits (RECs) from renewable resources, such as wind and solar, with the RECs retired on behalf of the subscribing customer
- Provide customers with asset-backed zero-emission alternative energy certificates (AECs) for the customer’s share of existing nuclear and hydro resources, with the AECs retired on behalf of the subscribing customer
- 24/7 time-match reporting of the customer’s scope 2 emissions associated with the customer’s retail electricity purchases.
According to the Go ZERO rate schedule, customers can select one or a combination of these options to account for up to 100% of their electricity demand. Go ZERO is listed as an individual charge on customers’ monthly bills.
Option one, or the asset-backed RECs, allows customers to subscribe to renewable resources in 1-kilowatt increments. Customers select from three billing options, which are based on rates from the Texas Solar REC Index at $0.004745 multiplied by the amount generated by the customers’ subscribed capacity. The rate schedule shows one of the billing options also includes “the forward locational marginal price of solar resources during peak hours” at $0.03555 per kilowatt-hour. The rates are updated annually.
Option two, or the asset-backed AECs, has a rate of $0.000035 per kilowatt-hour, and the charge is based on a per kilowatt-hour cost to retire AECs on the customer’s behalf. Option three, or the time-match reporting, is $315 per month. Link here for more on the Go ZERO program.
SWEPCO spokeswoman Shanda Hunter said SWEPCO’s Renewable Energy Choice program started in 2021.
“SWEPCO is looking to expand its REC offerings as more facilities come online, but we currently have a REC offering program in place,” said Hunter, noting that the program was significant to Rockline Industries.
According to an Oct. 5 news release, Rockline Industries achieved a 36% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by participating in the program. Rockline Industries, which makes coffee filters and wet wipes, has plants in Booneville and Springdale. In 2020, it established goals to reduce emissions by 50% within a decade and to meet 60% of its electricity demand with renewable sources.
Across SWEPCO’s three-state footprint that includes Arkansas, about 75 customers participate in the Renewable Energy Choice program, Hunter said. In 2023, SWEPCO added 29 participants to the program.
According to SWEPCO’s website, customers can purchase RECs for $0.004012 per kilowatt-hour. “The RECs you purchase allow you to legally claim the environmental benefits of the renewable energy,” the website shows. Customers decide how much of their electricity demand will be attributed to the program, and SWEPCO provides a corresponding amount of RECs from its renewable generation sources. For example, a household that’s enrolled half of its electricity demand in the program and uses 1,200 kilowatt-hours monthly will pay about $2.41 monthly for the RECs. Link here for more on the program.
Roedel provided the following statement when asked whether the electric cooperatives have a clean energy program like Entergy Arkansas’:
“Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC) is a not-for-profit generation and transmission cooperative that works on behalf of the state’s 1.2 million electric cooperative members.
AECC’s diverse generation resource mix includes wind, solar and hydro. Although Arkansas does not have a renewable portfolio standard, AECC has marketed and sold the renewable attributes of these facilities to industries and companies that use them to meet renewable energy goals. This practice has been followed for many years and ultimately has contributed to ensuring that electric cooperative members have reliable, affordable power.”
Roedel said AECC has additional credits available but declined to say how many customers have acquired them.
According to AECC’s website, it sells RECs associated with the electricity produced by the Clyde T. Ellis Hydroelectric Generating Station, Carl S. Whillock Hydroelectric Generating Station, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Hydropower Generating Station, and through power purchase agreements, from multiple wind farms.
“AECC does not claim that the electricity sold from these generation resources to its member cooperatives and others is ‘green,’ ‘renewable,’ ‘clean’ or has any other environmental attribute,” the website shows.