In 2022, Mississippi’s economy was ranked 36th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP). The state’s economy is dependent on agriculture, manufacturing, fishing, forestry, and tourism industries.
Mississippi is one of only 13 states that has neither a renewable portfolio standard requirement nor a goal.
Power Generation Capabilities
In June 2023, Mississippi utilities used natural gas (77.8%), nuclear (14.5%). coal (5.1%), and renewable energy (2.6%). Solar and biomass are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Mississippi.
In June 2023, the average cost of residential electricity in Mississippi was 13.46¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 16.11¢ per kWh.
Recent renewable energy developments in Mississippi include:
- 550 MW Solar + 150 MW Energy Storage Project – Florida solar company, Origis Energy is continuing work on three solar plus energy storage projects in the eastern region of the state. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2025.
- 100 MW Solar Project – In May 2022, Louisiana utility Entergy commissioned the Sunflower Solar Station in the northwestern region of the state.
- 78 MW Solar Project – In July 2021, North Carolina solar company, Pine Gate Renewables commissioned the Moonshot Solar project in Hancock County in the southwestern region of the state.
- 78 MW Solar Project – Pine Gate Renewables is continuing work on the Cane Creek Solar project in the eastern region of the state. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2024.
- 7 MW Solar Project – Tennessee renewable energy company, Clearloop is continuing work on the Panola II Solar project at a site approximately 150 miles north of the state capital, Jackson. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2024.
- Biomass Power Project – In August 2021, Maryland sustainable wood bioenergy company, Enviva completed a 750,000 tons per year wood pellet biomass production facility in the southeastern region of the state.
In 2010, 30.0% of Mississippi’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. In April 2023, 6.2% of the state’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. Why the decrease in the use of coal?
- Economics – The cost to generate power from natural gas or renewable energy is significantly cheaper than coal. The cost to generate electricity from coal-fired plants is over twice the cost of wind or solar.
- Environment – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was reported to have leaked into the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America.
- Climate Change – Coal generates 40% to 45% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.
Mississippi has slowly reduced the use of coal for power generation over the last decade. The abundance of inexpensive natural gas prompted Mississippi’s utilities to shift from coal to natural gas.
Mississippi has significant undeveloped renewable energy potential, including solar, biomass, onshore wind, and offshore wind. State utilities are now developing new renewable energy projects, as coal and natural gas prices continue to climb. Magnolia State is now turning to renewable energy for low-cost, reliable energy.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy issues.