Photo from Commissioner Brandon Presley's Twitter.

The Public Service Commission has approved $1.4 billion in solar and wind projects in the past three years alone.

This week, Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley announced a $120 million solar facility by Origis Energy in Lowndes County.

The private investment project will create hundreds of construction jobs and comes on the heels of another $200 million Origis Energy solar project in Lowndes Co. approved in 2021.

Commissioner Presley told Y’all Politics that the project will create hundreds of jobs in construction, increase wealth to the landowners, and bring $300 million of private investment into Lowndes County.

Regarding Mississippi’s growth in renewable energy development, Presley said the state has been able to show how it can have growth in the renewable energy sector from a private market standpoint.

“We don’t have a state mandate on renewables in Mississippi, but we’ve been able to see phenomenal growth here by using smart, free-market principles working with private companies, local landowners, local and state government to put together, I think, an environment that can make Mississippi the power house of the south without any extreme agenda,” Presley said. 

Commissioner Presley said the projects the Public Service Commission (PSC) has worked on are driven by practical governance and energy realities, adding that “money votes with its feet and dollars flow where there is an environment in which encourages this type of investment” in Mississippi. 

The Northern District Commissioner noted that over the last three years, the PSC has approved $1,405,000,000.00 worth of renewable energy projects. 

“The renewable energy investments we’ve seen in Mississippi are a total product of our state sending the signal that we’re open to business for investment by renewable companies,” Presley stated.

Presley added that these energy projects are some of the biggest economic development investments in the state. He said that they have been incremental. 

“And of course, the job numbers do not correlate, but when you’re looking at just private investment and what is going to benefit school districts, counties, and cities, that is a lot of money invested in our state and we want to continue to send that signal in a way in which is very practical, business friendly way, which I think is going to attract more and more of these types of investments in the state,” he added.

The Commissioner said Mississippi has access to many different markets for wholesale power, which is different from other places across the country.

“We are very much becoming the intersection in the Southeast of many of the wholesale electricity markets and grids and I think we’ve got to take that as an advantage to bring this type of investment in,” Presley said. 

The Commissioner said that the PSC’s approach has been one in which Mississippi does not have a state mandate, nobody is arguing for a state mandate, but that they are using free market principles that make sense.

“I think it’s highlighted by the fact that when Entergy announced earlier in the year that they are putting out a request for a proposal for 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy that that proposal was both praised by the Public Service Commission, I’m a Democrat, and also praised by Governor Reeves,” Presley said. “I think that this is the type of development that Mississippi has got to look forward to for the future and we want to become the powerhouse of the South.”