McCullough: State energy future can be very bright

JACKSON – Glenn McCullough Jr., former mayor of Tupelo and former chair of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Board of Directors, told legislators Thursday that Mississippi has the chance to be self-sufficient in terms of electricity if the right decisions are made in the coming years.
“We hope to achieve an energy policy that will encourage the Mississippi economy to grow,” said McCullough, now chair of Advance Mississippi, a nonprofit advocacy group comprising electricity companies, business groups and others involved in the energy field.
McCullough was among the experts who testified Thursday to a subcommittee of the House Conservation and Water Resources Committee chaired by Rep. Brian Aldridge, R-Tupelo.
Aldridge said the purpose of the hearing was to provide information to House committee members on the electrical needs of the state, a subject at the heart of much ongoing activity.
For instance, the state Public Service Commission is mulling the application for a new lignite-generated power plant in Kemper County.
Proponents say the plant is needed to meet Mississippi’s electricity demands. Opponents say it is not needed and will increase costs to Mississippi ratepayers.
Plus, in recent years, the Legislature made a controversial change in the law to allow power companies to recoup from ratepayers some of the cost of new generating plants before they are completed.
McCullough told the subcommittee that the state has many sources of affordable, clean power. Specifically, he cited lignite, the nuclear power plant in southwest Mississippi and bio-power.
All three, he said, must be enhanced.
Aldridge said the Conservation and Water Resources Committee, chaired by John Mayo, D-Clarksdale, is looking at potential legislation that could help put the state on a path to affordable, clean power.

Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal