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OPINION: Mississippi has energy for the future

Energy is required to power the economy, provide transportation around town or across the ocean and make life at home comfortable.

Mississippi is blessed with rich energy resources. Oil, natural gas, lignite coal, bio resources and electricity essential business, industry and home life are abundant in the Magnolia State.

The Mississippi Development Authority reports that over 1,500 oil and 1,800 natural gas producing wells in addition to an estimated four billion tons of lignite coal and 19+ million acres of timber providing biomass resources are in Mississippi.

Chevron’s Pascagoula petroleum refinery, one of the 10 largest in the nation, plus Ergon’s Vicksburg and Hunt Southland’s Refinery in Sandersonville account for more than two percent of total U.S. refining capacity.

There are thirteen natural gas fueled electric power merchant plants in Mississippi representing a capital investment of over $3.9 billion, generating 7,993 megawatts of electricity which can power over five million homes.

Entergy’s Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Plant near Port Gibson operates safely and reliably generating 1,320 megawatts of electricity with zero carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, or mercury emissions. The Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant has been expanded and another reactor could be added which would benefit Mississippi’s economy. Today the Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Plant generates about 25 percent of the state’s total electric power generation.

Choctaw Generation, LLP, near Ackerman, known as the Red Hills plant, operates the world’s largest circulating fluidized bed environmentally friendly technology with lignite coal as fuel to generate 440 megawatts of electricity for the Tennessee Valley Authority and distributors of TVA power throughout Northeast Mississippi.

The Mississippi Lignite Mining Company supplies lignite coal to Choctaw Generation from a permitted area of 5,280 acres with reserves of over 200 million tons of mineable lignite.

Poultry litter biomass waste, timber, corn and soybean biomass contribute to over seven percent on Mississippi’s total renewable energy consumption, which doubles the U.S. average of renewable energy consumption.

The Mississippi Technology Alliance, in cooperation with Mississippi’s university research institutions, is internationally recognized as a leader in renewable energy technologies.

Mississippi Power is in the final planning phase of permitting for an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) lignite-fueled power plant that will generate 582 megawatts of electricity. The $2.2-billion project in Kemper county will optimize economic development and environmental stewardship as well as provide affordable, reliable electricity for Mississippians.

Beyond oil, natural gas, lignite coal, biomass and electric power generation, smart metering for an electricity smart grid is key to energy efficiency.

SmartSynch, a company based in Jackson, has partnered with At&T to promote their leading wireless smart meter technology that enables utilities, business, industry and consumers to use energy more efficiently which is a win for all.

With almost 10,000 miles of natural gas pipeline, Mississippi leads all southeastern states in this important energy infrastructure. Liquified natural gas, ethanol and biodiesel capacity also are significant contributors to Mississippi’s energy advantage.

Gov. Haley Barbour and the Mississippi Development Authority are providing strong leadership for energy security today bringing power to the possibilities of tomorrow.

Former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough Jr. served as chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board and is now the chairman for the Governor’s Task Force on Energy for the State of Mississippi.


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