After slowing during the recession, the Arkansas wood and paper products sector has come roaring back and Entergy, working closely with state and local partners, is playing a pivotal role in this renaissance. Thanks to this joint effort, the total economic impact of the forest products industry in Arkansas exceeds $15.9 billion annually.
Of course, Arkansas has many advantages that make it a prime location for companies serving the industry. There are 18.8 million acres of forest in the state, accounting for 56 percent of the land area:
Arkansas also has a skilled workforce, some 30,000 strong. And with Arkansas’ major interstates, railroads and commercially navigable rivers, getting products to market anywhere in the country or around the world is never an issue.
As a result of the benefits listed above, companies of all sizes are coming to Arkansas, and those already here are expanding. To cite just a few examples:
Taken together, these three projects—in dimensional lumber, pellets and pulp—represent the strength and diversity of South Arkansas’ wood basket.
Entergy supports these and other wood and paper products projects in a number of ways. A program that new and existing industrial customers find valuable rewards companies for their energy efficiency initiatives. These could cover everything from lighting retrofits to upgrades to compressed air systems. In addition to savings the customers achieve on energy costs, Entergy provides rebates to cover a portion of their capital outlay.
Entergy has also invested in a comprehensive site selection website—our database has almost 1,000 buildings and sites in Arkansas alone—to help companies more easily find locations that meet their requirements.
Companies can specify requirements like distance to rail or navigable waterways to produce a list of sites, with details about features, transportation links, incentives, and other characteristics for each one. To get the bigger picture, companies can also view county and community profile reports, and a variety of geospatial data.
But data is just a beginning. At Entergy, we are always available to collaborate with local jurisdictions and economic development agencies to create an attractive package for wood and paper products companies—and we participate actively during the planning process. For instance, we worked closely with Highland Pellets to assess their energy needs for their Pine Bluff facility. In this case, we tapped a transmission line and built a dedicated substation, delivered on time and at no cost to the customer.
At Entergy, we think out of the box. We’ll dig deep to understand your energy requirements, work closely with you to help you understand your options, and put in place a solution that fits your needs today and the future. Our goal is to set the stage for your business to thrive.