Fossil Fuels and Renewable Energy in Mississippi Grid Expansion

John Breaux and Glenn McCullough discuss future incorporation of renewable fuels into the Mississippi energy grid.

Mississippi’s energy grid will need expansion to keep up with growing demand. As MPB’s Carl Gibson reports, challenges lie ahead in balancing the use of cheap fossil fuels with the use of more costly renewable energy.

According to nonprofit energy coalition Advance Mississippi, the state’s demand for electricity will increase by 26 percent before 2030. Glenn McCullough of Tupelo, who chairs the organization, says if the state wants more jobs, Mississippi must first expand its energy infrastructure.

“61 percent of the electricity consumed in Mississippi is consumed by the commercial and industrial sector. And in the commercial and industrial sector is where you have job growth. And so, more and better jobs in Mississippi will require reliable, affordable clean electricity.”

Mississippi Power has proposed a 2 billion dollar lignite coal plant in Kimper County. Governor Haley Barbour says the state has to rely on cheaper energy sources.

“The lignite in Kimper County is a Mississippi natural resource. And its very, very cheap.”

While questions have been raised over the environmental impact of non-renewable energy, former Louisiana US senator John Breaux says more fossil fuel dependence is likely for poorer states like Mississippi.

“We’re going to continue to rely on coal and oil and natural gas as our principle sources, along with nuclear power. But we should be looking towards moving to renewable fuels, but its not gonna be cheap.”

The federal government has asked states to supply one-fifth of all energy grids with renewable fuels by 2020. Mississippi’s grid presently uses 4 percent.

Tags: ,