From Mississippi Development Guide 2023

Power and Prosperity Are Dual Mandates of Mississippi Utilities

Entergy MS, TVA and others keep the engines of commerce running.

Golden Triangle II, a massive solar-plus-storage installation from Origis Energy and TVA next to the Golden Triangle megaplex in Columbus in Lowndes County, went online in May 2024.
Photo courtesy of Origis and TVA


ant insights into the role utilities play in economic development? Look no further than the page 26 story of this publication, where Entergy Mississippi President and CEO Haley Fisackerly tells Site Selection EVP Ron Starner how the groundwork was laid over years for the massive 1,000-job data center campus investment from Amazon Web Services announced in January 2024.

How important is the single largest capital investment in state history? When ground was broken for the project on May 20, 2024, Fisackerly’s boss Drew Marsh, chair and CEO of Entergy Corporation, was there.

“The AWS investment highlights the foresight of Mississippi government leaders to put forward the Economic Development with Green Energy strategy in 2021,” Marsh said. “As part of the EDGE strategy, we brought online the Sunflower Solar Station — the largest utility-owned solar installation in Mississippi — in 2022. We are excited to add 650 megawatts of solar to our generation mix over the next three years. Without the EDGE strategy, and many other legislative, regulatory, and community development efforts, breaking ground on this project would not have been possible.”

For his part, Fisackerly saluted years of work by Ed Gardner, Entergy Mississippi’s vice president of business and economic development, and his team for working “collaboratively and creatively for years, across many boundaries, to develop legislative, regulatory, community, economic development and energy supply plans to meet our new customer’s needs and attract AWS to Mississippi.”

Wherever you turn in Mississippi economic development, you’ll find one of the four major utility groups as a stakeholder helping companies put stakes in the ground. Here are some snapshots of what they’ve been up to lately, drawn from company statements and news.

Entergy Mississippi

In March 2024, driven by growth in northwest Mississippi outside Memphis, Entergy Mississippi completed construction of a new distribution substation in the Snowden Grove Park community in Southaven, part of a $37 million project that includes nearly two miles of new transmission lines, 12 miles of new and rebuilt distribution lines and 74 new composite poles. “The project enhances reliability for the existing transmission and distribution systems by providing capacity for future residential, commercial and industrial growth in DeSoto County,” the utility stated.

“Northwest Mississippi is one of the fastest growing areas in the state, and we’re proud to be a part of the progress,” said Fisackerly.

Entergy Mississippi’s proactive economic development team is part of the larger Entergy family of utilities across the South that as recently as 2022 supported efforts to secure $37 billion of capital investment and the creation of nearly 23,000 new jobs across four states, including more than 1,000 jobs and more than $800 million in Mississippi that year. Sometimes the utility itself is the investing organization. In November 2023, Entergy Mississippi opened a new $32.5 million facility in Flora’s industrial park that combines Entergy’s transmission line department, substation operations department and the central Mississippi substation maintenance department for the Jackson metro area. In addition to the building and a pole yard, Entergy Mississippi worked with the Madison County Economic Development Authority on a road extension that will “allow for safer transit for heavy deliveries and provide an opportunity for future economic development in the area.”

The utility supports communities with direct funding as well. As of 2023, the seven-year-old Excellerator Competitive Communities grant program, designed to help local economic development organizations with site readiness, marketing and strategic planning, had awarded $539,000 across 20 counties.

Cooperative Energy

The only not-for-profit wholesale electric power provider headquartered in Mississippi, Cooperative Energy generates and transmits electricity for 11 member distribution systems located across 55 counties in the southern and western portions of the state, reaching more than 445,000 homes and businesses. Among the projects its economic development team has supported is a new 24-job railcar repair shop coming from Mississippi Export Railroad on 12 acres at the Helena Industrial Complex in Moss Point, located in Jackson County. Cooperative Energy also lent support to the May 2024 decision by Connor Industries to invest $8 million and create 56 new jobs at a new boat manufacturing operation in Clarksdale that will allow the company to test boats on the Mississippi River year-round at the site in Coahoma County. “Through a $50,000 Cooperative Competes grant, Coahoma Electric defrayed electric connection costs for this project, relieving Connor Industries from an additional upfront capital outlay,” said Cooperative Energy.

Cooperative Energy’s original 1978 coal-fired power plant in PurvisIn March 2023, on the site of Cooperative Energy’s original 1978 coal-fired power plant in Purvis, the organization’s R.D. Morrow, Sr. Generating Station achieved commercial operation as an advanced-class natural gas unit capable of producing 572 MW of electricity.
Photo courtesy of Cooperative Energy

In September 2023, Cooperative unveiled the SiteInvest by Cooperative Energy program, developed over the course of a full year in collaboration with Burns & McDonnell.

“We recognized a need for creating an all-encompassing industrial property investment program, and we wanted to get it right,” said Cooperative Energy Director of Economic Development Mitch Stringer. “Our program is intentionally not a certification program, but rather an all-encompassing initiative that aligns readiness with tangible investments by local communities and Cooperative Energy through our Cooperative Competes grants.” Since the program began, Cooperative Energy, together with the 11 cooperatives it serves, has invested over $2,529,613 in strategic economic development efforts throughout the state, which have combined with over $41 million in local and state funds to improve industrial properties such as Stennis Technology Park, Pearl River County Technology Park and Port Bienville Industrial Park, all served by Coast Electric.

In addition to launching its 572-MW natural gas-fired R.D. Morrow, Sr. Generating Station in Purvis in March 2023, Cooperative Energy in November 2023 placed into commercial operation the 637-acre, 100-MW Delta’s Edge utility-scale solar installation in Carroll County east of Greenwood. 

Mississippi Power

Southern Company subsidiary Mississippi Power serves more than 191,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. The utility recently supported an expansion by Howard Industries in Quitman that will help a major customer named Mississippi Power, among others. The company is one of the leading distribution transformer manufacturers in the nation, with facilities located in Laurel and Ellisville.

The utility is also a major partner in programs such as Main Street Picayune, awarding façade grants for downtown revitalization and helping boost downtown occupancy from 70% to 99%.

The Mississippi Power Foundation recently committed $50,000 to Pearl River Community College’s utility lineworker technology program to upgrade a classroom and expand the educational opportunity to local high school students in and around Gulfport. “At Mississippi Power, we know the importance of investing in our future workforce,” said Area Manager Meg Payment. The facility is one piece of an overall long-term expansion of the college and its Career and Technical Education program. The utility supports a similar program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Tennessee Valley Authority

Serving portions of seven states that are home to around 10 million people, TVA directly provides power to 58 large directly-served customers and 153 local power companies. Among many programs driven by its robust economic development team is InvestPrep, created in 2012 to help communities reach their site development goals. The program’s success has spurred over $9 billion in capital investment, with 37 plant locations and 11,000 jobs in the Tennessee Valley, and includes locations such as Alcorn County, Mississippi. Meanwhile, companies locating on TVA Certified Megasites represent more than 19,000 jobs and $17 billion in capital investment, including Steel Dynamics in the Golden Triangle area of Columbus in Lowndes County.

That’s where Altex Tube LLC, a steel tubing manufacturer, recently announced plans to locate operations, bringing 58 new jobs and a $110 million investment to the Steel Dynamics campus with support from 4-County Electric Power Association, Golden Triangle Development LINK and Mississippi Development Authority. It’s also where TVA and Origis Energy in May 2024 announced that the first of three solar-plus-storage projects in their Mississippi portfolio had reached commercial operation. Golden Triangle II, a 150 MWac solar project with 50 MW battery storage, began generating carbon-free electricity on May 21, 2024. TVA will use the power to help meet the energy demand and sustainability goals of some of its large industrial customers, including Meta, through its industry-leading Green Invest program. 

“Partnering with TVA on the Green Invest program has made it possible for our operations in the Tennessee Valley to be supported by new solar energy constructed in the region,” said Urvi Parekh, head of renewable energy at Meta. “This solar farm is Meta’s first renewable energy project in Mississippi, and we’re excited to see it come online.”

“The Origis facility is a massive solar farm, battery bank and substation,” said Joe Max Higgins, Jr. CEO of Golden Triangle Development LINK. “Its location next to the Golden Triangle megaplex will provide renewable power on a large scale. The project will also provide millions of dollars to our schools and county government.”

Other recent projects supported by TVA and its cooperatives in Mississippi include a $2 million, 15-job expansion by Tull Brothers in Corinth; a $13 million, 80-job expansion by Voyant Beauty and a $4 million, 25-job location by Noble Supply and Logistics in Olive Branch in DeSoto County; an $11.6 million, 105-job location by Baxter International in Marshall County; and a $9.5 million, 62-job location in Starkville (home to Mississippi State University) by heavy equipment manufacturer Columbia Industries. 

Adam Bruns
Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns is editor in chief and head of publications for Site Selection, and before that has served as managing editor beginning in February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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