Green can mean much more than just environment

Legislature approves nearly $234M in green energy loans

MBJ’s Nov. 14 cover story on Twin Creeks, by Amy McCullough, looked into whether Mississippi is giving away the farm to lure potentially vulnerable companies to the state.

This year the Mississippi Legislature approved loans for three green energy manufacturing companies recruited to the state by Gov. Haley Barbour.

In January the state Legislature approved a $75 million loan for Stion, a startup manufacturing company that will make thin-film solar panels in Hattiesburg. The company promises to investment $500 million and bring 1,000 jobs to Mississippi. Stion has already hired 100 local people and spent more than $40 million of its state funds.

In September the Legislature approved a $59.5 million loan to Calisolar, which will make solar silicon in Columbus and promises more than 900 jobs and an investment of $600 million. Lowndes County is assisting the company with $14 million in infrastructure improvements.

Also in September the Legislature approved a $100 million loan for HCL Cleantech, which should convert biomass to sugars for industrial products. The company has promised to invest $1 billion and create 800 jobs in Mississippi. It plans to operate in Olive Branch, Grenada, Booneville, Hattiesburg and Natchez.

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