By Paul Gerke

Entergy and NextEra are bringing a new wave of solar and storage development to the Southern United States that will significantly bolster the portfolio of renewables in the region.

Entergy and NextEra Energy Resources LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc., today announced a joint development agreement of up to 4.5 GW of new solar generation and energy storage projects.

“We’re excited about this joint development agreement, which will enable Entergy to provide our customers with low-cost, renewable energy as demand grows across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas,” said Rod West, group president of utility operations for Entergy.

“We believe the power sector is at an inflection point, and growing electricity demand will be met by low-cost, renewable generation and storage,” added Rebecca Kujawa, president and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy Resources. “We’re pleased to reach this agreement because it further strengthens our long-standing collaboration and adds up to 4.5 GW on top of the more than 1.7 GW of renewable energy projects already underway with Entergy.”

Texas is a utility-scale solar powerhouse, ranking second nationally with more than 32 GW of installed capacity, but the other states in Entergy’s territory aren’t as far along. Louisiana has just 617 MW installed, and only 0.7% of its electricity comes from solar (in Texas it’s more than 6%, for comparison). Mississippi ranks 37th in the country with about 577 MW installed; Arkansas is 27th with 1.1 GW and about 2% of its energy mix comes from solar.

The landscape in the region is shifting, however.

Last month, the Louisiana Public Service Commission approved Entergy Louisiana’s proposal to add up to three gigawatts of economic solar power to its generation portfolio, marking what the utility calls the largest renewable power expansion in the state’s history.

EDP Renewables North America recently announced a 175-MW solar project in Mississippi County, Arkansas called Crooked Lake Solar Park that will directly support Arkansas’ electric grid. In Mississippi, the first of three solar plus storage projects from Origis Energy and Tennessee Valley Authority has reached commercial operation; the triumvirate is expected to be completed next year.

Originally published in Renewable Energy World.

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