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SOLAR (cont.)



The deal is with a subsidiary of Next Era Energy.

The city current power supply contract is with a different division of the same company.

'It's the same parent company,' said Pedersen. 'Its supposed to come online by 2024, and we'll receive power beginning in June 2026. 'They are the worlds largest provider of renewables energy, solar and wind. They own Florida Power and Light. This is a huge reliable company.'

Both the Utility Commission and the City Council approved a 30-year power purchase agreement with Big Cypress Solar.

Next Era Director of Development Chelsea Robbens provided an overview of the solar facility construction and the company's capital outlay for construction. The accord obligated the company to build the solar array and West Memphis Utilities to draw 20 megawatts of energy as it's produced.

'We are very excited to partner on this 180megawatt solar facility,' said Robben. 'Strong partners are necessary to do this and that's why we are excited to be working with West Memphis. It's about $190 million investment.

It's 300 construction jobs to build the facility and a few jobs to operate it. Outside those jobs we will need road improvements and you'll see indirect investment into the community through hotels, restaurants, groceries, and gas.'

Councilman James Holt commended the proactive planning by the utility as coal generation has became more unfeasible.

'Many years ago a mayor took initiative to buy into a coal plant to keep costs down,' said Holt. 'We are seeing here the same opportunity.'

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