London-based Meridian Power announced this month that it has selected former Tupelo mayor and Advance Mississippi Chairman Glenn L. McCullough Jr. as chairman of its biomass businesses in the United States.
The company has chosen Mississippi to be the site of its first power plant, due to the abundance of timber biomass in the state.
Meridian Power plans to develop several 100-150 megawatt, large-scale biomass-fired power plants in the Southeastern United States, each with a total consumption of over 1 million tons a year. The company was formed in 1997 to specialize in renewable energy and has completed several clean energy plants in the United Kingdom.
Each project will require more than $400 million in investment, according to a company presentation at the 9th Annual Southern BioProducts and Renewable Energy Conference held in Tunica in April.
“I am delighted to join Meridian Power in order to accelerate its efforts to build a large-scale biomass business in the Southeastern United States. Biomass power generation provides long term security to local timber businesses, and creates new jobs while generating clean energy,” McCullough said.
McCullough said no details were yet available on the location of their first plant: “We’re really at the early stages of planning on our first project.”
The company will focus on using tree biomass. Some companies are exploring uses for other types of biomass, such as poultry litter, which is more suited to smaller plants than the ones Meridian intends to build.
McCullough’s role will be part-time support in strategic business development to Jackson’s Mark Frascogna, the full-time director for Meridian’s U.S. activities.
McCullough said his new role will not conflict with his leadership position in Advance Mississippi, which exists to promote “superior energy policies that foster economic growth.” The non-profit was founded by Entergy Mississippi and North American Coal Corporation, among many others. McCullough also serves on the board of Mississippi Technology Alliance.
Meridian Power CEO, Marco Dell’Aquila, said, “Glenn is a highly regarded professional with a distinguished career in the power sector and Meridian Power is delighted that he has joined us to build a significant biomass business in the US. Biomass power generation is an important but often overlooked source of clean and locally ‘grown’ power. It helps to stimulate the creation and maintenance of long term jobs. Biomass power generation is green, economically viable and produces power 24/7.”
In 2001, President George W. Bush selected McCullough as chair of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board of directors, a position which he held until 2005.
During that time, McCullough also served as a member of the National Advisory Board of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). He served on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and as a director of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO).
McCullough has 14 years in private business as vice president of McCullough Steel Products, Inc. and worked for five years on the staff of former Gov. Kirk Fordice.