Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), has reached the 92 percent completion mark on construction of the John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant in Hempstead County, Ark., and the arrival of the first 135-unit Union Pacific coal train from Wyoming at the site May 30.

“Reaching the point of the arrival of the first unit coal train is a significant accomplishment for SWEPCO,” says Tim Gross, Turk plant manager. “Construction has progressed to the point that most of the plant’s major components are now installed. We are starting now to work through the equipment start-up and commissioning process, such as firing the boilers and steam blows while keeping safety our number one priority as always.” Some of the larger components include the water treatment plant, boiler, turbine, generator, substation, emission control equipment, cooling tower and material handling systems for coal unloading and storage. Each coal car carries about 120 tons of coal, and the Turk plant will use about 2.6 million tons of coal annually.

The plant reached its peak construction employment in May 2011 with 2,200 workers. Currently, there are 1,522 construction workers at the plant. SWEPCO also has 104 employees on site of the total 109 permanent jobs for the plant. The Turk project and associated economic development will produce an estimated annual payroll of $9 million in Southwest Arkansas and about an additional $4 million in annual school and county property tax revenues.

The 600-megawatt plant will use ultra-supercritical advanced coal combustion technology, the first of its type to go into operation in the U.S. When completed, it will be among the cleanest, most efficient coal plants in the country. Ultra-supercritical generation requires less coal and produces fewer emissions to generate the same amount of power as existing coal plants.

Construction of the plant began in November 2008 after SWEPCO received its air permit. Estimated completion date for the $1.7 billion project is December 2012. SWEPCO’s 73 percent share of the plant is $1.3 billion and 440 megawatts.  One megawatt is enough energy to power about 500 homes in the summer, or a total of about 220,000 houses based on SWEPCO’s portion of the plant.

 “This construction milestone and first coal train delivery keeps the Turk plant on schedule toward projected completion in late 2012 in order to serve our customers in the most reliable and cost-effective manner,” said Venita McCellon-Allen, president and chief operating officer of SWEPCO.

The Turk Plant will help serve SWEPCO’s 406,000 retail customers in Louisiana and Texas, as well as about 400,000 East Texas electric cooperative (plant part-owner) customers. In Arkansas the plant will serve SWEPCO’s wholesale customers — the cities of Hope, Prescott and Bentonville — and the 490,000 members of Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. is part-owner of the plant.

“The power plant will bring much needed generation at a reasonable cost to SWEPCO customers, and it will boost economic development and growth in the future for Southwest Arkansas and other communities we serve,” added McCellon-Allen.


SWEPCO serves more than 520,000 customers in western Arkansas, northwest and central Louisiana, northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO and the Turk Power Plant can be found at www.swepco.com.

Media Contact
Corporate Communications
Scott McCloud, 318-673-3532

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