Company to add 1,000 MW of solar and other renewable energy

Entergy Mississippi is making its largest-ever commitment to renewable resources.

The company plans to replace some aging natural gas plants with 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy, such as solar, over the next five years. Called EDGE for “Economic Development with Green Energy,” the strategy is two-fold: give Mississippi an edge in recruiting industry while simultaneously giving Entergy customers an effective hedge against volatile natural gas prices.

A release from Entergy announcing the plans says one of the biggest advantages a state can have in attracting jobs and economic development today is a significant amount of renewable power. States that cannot provide ample renewable energy are typically eliminated from site searches by companies looking to locate or expand. Entergy says their plans will help meet that demand and increase Mississippi’s competitiveness on the economic development front.

“The EDGE plan will provide major benefits to the customers and communities we serve,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “Having significant renewable power is as important to large companies as a state’s tax and incentive structure, site availability and labor force.”

Fisackerly says adding more renewable energy will put Mississippi communities in a better position for industrial recruitment, while also diversifying the company’s power generation portfolio at a time of rising natural gas prices.

“Along with the nuclear power provided by Grand Gulf, this would give our customers diverse, sustainable, reliable, clean and affordable power for years to come,” Fisackerly added.

Under the EDGE plan, Entergy Mississippi would add 500 MW of renewable power to its portfolio by 2025 and another 500 MW by 2027. This would increase renewable power as a percentage of the company’s total power generation portfolio from less than 1% to 17% in three years and almost one-third in only five years. This increase would give Entergy Mississippi the fastest-growing renewable power portfolio in the state and one of the fastest-growing in the country.

Currently, natural gas makes up the majority of the company’s power generation portfolio. Communities will also see the benefits of new construction jobs and new tax revenue as a result of these renewable power plants all being built locally.

Governor Tate Reeves is quoted in the company’s release as saying the plan will help recruit new business investment to the state.

“Entergy’s EDGE plan will help Mississippi in its efforts to become energy independent, and increase the already wide range of energy options available to customers,” said Gov. Tate Reeves. “Entergy’s new power generation plan will help put Mississippi in an even better position to recruit job creators and contribute to our state’s economic growth.”

All three of Mississippi’s Public Service Commissioners also support the company’s effort to bring more renewable power to Mississippians, according to Entergy’s release.

“It’s clear that economic development across the nation is moving faster by the day toward states that harness and develop clean, renewable energy. The fact is we can’t expect to compete in the modern economy without a strategy for providing the business community with clean, renewable power. I applaud Entergy’s efforts to develop this major project and look forward to the successes it will bring,” said Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley.

“The national transition to a cleaner, more diversified energy generation portfolio is undeniable. Many factors are driving this change, including the desire by private and public sector customers to access renewable energy resources.  My office will work with Entergy Mississippi to ensure these new energy resources are responsibly considered in a timely manner and in a way that enhances reliability and affordability,” said Central District Commissioner Brent Bailey.

“With my business and economic development background, I am always looking for projects and programs that bring jobs and economic benefits to our Mississippi communities. I’d like to commend Entergy Mississippi for their effort in providing additional renewable energy options for consumers through their EDGE plan,” said Chairman of the PSC and Southern District Commissioner Dane Maxwell.

Entergy Mississippi says it will begin issuing requests for proposals for multiple renewable projects in early 2022. The company would then take the finalized plans to the Mississippi Public Service Commission for review and potential approval later in the year.

“We look forward to working with the Mississippi Public Service Commission and Mississippi Public Utilities Staff to implement this plan, and with the Governor and the Mississippi Development Authority to spread the word to business leaders around the globe that this renewable power will soon be available in Mississippi,” said Fisackerly.

Entergy Mississippi notes that it is already in the process of replacing some of the energy produced by recently-retired natural gas plants with renewable energy. The company’s partner, Recurrent Energy, broke ground in August on a 100-megawatt solar facility in Sunflower County that will power approximately 16,000 homes when it goes in service next year.