Mississippi Energy

Meet Our Leadership

A Message from MEI President Patrick Sullivan

Energy is the lifeblood of our economy. Every part of our economy relies on energy in some way. In a fast-changing world, the ability to expand Mississippi’s economy and improve quality of life is heavily dependent on the availability of abundant energy at an affordable cost.

Additionally, as developing countries like China and India continue to grow their economies, energy demand will undoubtedly increase. The independent Energy Information Administration projects global energy consumption to increase by about 50% over the next 25 years. Considering the amount of energy the world economy requires today, this will be an astonishing increase in energy demand. Obviously, all energy sources – oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind, hydro, biomass, solar – will be needed to meet this scale of demand while continuing to find ways to be more energy efficient in buildings, transportation vehicles, and manufacturing.

In preparing for this growth in energy production and to participate in new technology development, Mississippi has a major economic opportunity. Opportunities are in energy production, research, technology development, components manufacturing, transportation and distribution, storage, and extraction, and with each of these comes jobs and investment.

To capitalize on all of these opportunities, Mississippi must be innovative and strategic. The Mississippi Energy Institute is a non-profit business aimed at partnering with Mississippi’s government leaders, academic institutions, and economic development and business communities to develop growth-minded policies to maximize energy based economic development in MIssissippi.

Mississippi’s future depends on how effectively we position our State for these opportunities. This is a monumental task but one that will pay off. We must get it right.

Patrick Sullivan, Mississippi Energy Institute President

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Board of Directors

Forrest Berry
President
Laurel Fuel Company

Christa Bishop
Director of Legal Affairs
South Mississippi Electric Power Association

Michael Callahan
Executive Vice President/CEO
Electric Power Association

Barry Cannada
Member, Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada, PLLC
Butler Snow

Bruce Chinn
General Manager
Chevron

Haley Fisackerly
President and CEO
Entergy Mississippi

Allen Fore
Director of Public Affairs
Kinder Morgan

David Gates
President of Mississippi Division
Chairman of the Board
Atmos Energy

George Guidry
Manager
Georgia Pacific

Matt Holleman
President and CEO
Galaxie Corporation

Randy James
Partner
Pruet Oil Company

Roger King
Director
MSU-CAVS

Justin Maierhofer
Vice President of Government Relations
TVA

Steve Marsh
Vice President Manufacturing
Nissan

Glenn McCullough
Executive Director
Mississippi Development Authority

Richard Mills
CEO
Tellus Operating Group

John Milner
Member, Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC
Brunini Law Firm

Chip Morgan
Executive Vice President
Delta Council

Greg Schnacke
Executive Director of Governmental Relations
Denbury Resources

David Shaw
Chairman
Mississippi Research Consortium

Bill Smith
Balch and Bingham

Lem Smith
Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs
Encana

Mary Swoope
Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council

Mike Thomas
Manager of Land, Government and Public Affairs
North American Coal

Billy Thornton
Vice President, Corporate Services & Community Relations
Mississippi Power

Kevin Van De Ven
General Manager
Nucor Steel

Anthony Wilson
President and CEO
Mississippi Power

Blake Wilson
President and CEO
Mississippi Economic Council

 

Associate Members

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Allen Eng

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State Leaders in Energy Highlight: Lt. Governor Tate Reeves 

tatecolorEnergy in Mississippi
“The development of our energy resources plays a crucial role in Mississippi’s economic success. I believe government doesn’t create jobs; Government’s role is to encourage the private sector to create jobs and invest capital. Therefore, public policy should encourage growth and support the broad spectrum of energy development.”

 

Lt. Gov. Reeves has staunchly opposed the overreach of President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency that would harm Mississippi ratepayers and economic development efforts. In a December 2014 letter to federal officials, he joined Speaker Philip Gunn in opposing the Clean Power Plan.

 

“Economic growth relies on energy and environmental policy that finds balance. Our country needs an environmental policy that encourages private sector investment everywhere, not one that places states at a competitive disadvantage.” 

 

Notable Legislative Accomplishments
  • Exempted the sales tax on power used in the manufacturing process.
  • Reduced the severance tax on oil and natural gas produced from horizontally drilled wells.
  • Updated the Energy Revolving Loan Fund, which allows the fund to be used for construction costs of energy infrastructure associated with development projects.

State Leaders in Energy Highlight: Speaker Philip Gunn

Energy in Mississippi

“Energy is a strength for Mississippi, and is an important part of our economy’s future. Through public policy, our goal is to encourage more investment in energy in all of its various forms.”

Key Energy Leaders (2012-2015 term)

Angela Cockerham – Energy Committee, Chairman

Jim Beckett – Public Utilities, Chairman

Jeff Smith – Ways and Means, Chairman

Donnie Bell – Workforce Development, Chairman

Notable Legislative Accomplishments

HB 844 (Smith – 2013) – Eliminated sales tax on energy used in manufacturing, increasing MS’s competitive position in recruitment

HB 841 (Smith – 2013) – Eliminated sales tax on electric power used in CO2-based oil recovery, a key driver in Mississippi oil production

HB 1281 (Cockerham – 2013) – Raised commercial energy efficiency standards for MS, leading southeastern states in adopting the new standard

HB 1698 (Cockerham – 2013) – reduced severance tax on oil from horizontal wells to encourage more industry investment in MS geologic plays.

Mississippi: An Energy Reliable State

The Mississippi Development Authority recently featured Mississippi Energy Institute President Patrick Sullivan as a guest blogger in their Mississippi Stories series. See what Patrick has to say about Mississippi’s energy and natural resources strengths. http://bit.ly/1yyCHeW

Legislative Scrambler on Energy Features MEI President

(L to R) Rep. Gary Staples, Sen. Terry Burton, Joe Sims of Cornerstone Government Affairs and Patrick Sullivan, President, Mississippi Energy Institute

(L to R) Rep. Gary Staples, Sen. Terry Burton, Joe Sims of Cornerstone Government Affairs and Patrick Sullivan, President, Mississippi Energy Institute

The Mississippi Economic Council held a Legislative Scrambler focusing on Energy on Wednesday, March 12 at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Attendees heard from Senator Terry Burton, Chair, Senate Energy Committee, Representative Gary Staples, Vice-Chair, House Energy Committee and Patrick Sullivan, President, Mississippi Energy Institute. Click here to listen to the event sponsored by Cornerstone Government Affairs.

European Energy Policies Bring Another Project to Mississippi

Tough European energy policies bring another project to Mississippi

Plans were recently announced to construct a wood pellet plant in George County, Miss. European electric power utilities demand wood pellets and with our abundance of forest products, Mississippi will help meet that demand. Two existing wood pellet mills are in Wiggins and Aberdeen. Set to employ around 30, the George County plant will bring a $25 million investment and is significant in the way it shows European countries taking advantage of Mississippi’s manufacturing capabilities and abundance of resources. 

 

Did You Know… Electricity costs in Europe are about 2.5 times higher than electricity costs in the southeast U.S.?

Happy Earth Day!

In a day dedicated to acknowledging and admiring the Earth, the Mississippi Energy Institute would like to address the state’s recent adoption of HB 1281, which updates energy building codes for commercial buildings bringing them to the ASHRAE 90.1-2010 standard.

Mississippi is the first state in the Southeast to adopt and administer the most up-to-date energy efficiency standard.

Largely already done in practice in commercial construction, this legislation officially sets a legal standard for energy efficient construction.  The economics of ASHRAE standards are well-understood and significant, especially in climates like Mississippi.  Standardized and smarter construction practices, both in commercial and residential, will be economically beneficial for homeowners and businesses, and through time, will effectively expand Mississippi’s energy supply capacity through conservation.

As the Legislative Session Ends, New Energy Bills Signed

Before leaving town this week, the Mississippi Legislature approved several law changes designed to leverage Mississippi energy assets into jobs and investment. With near unanimous and bipartisan support, the bills send a clear and rightful message that energy development is valued in our state.

One measure, HB 1698, encourages investment in horizontally drilled wells by offering a temporary severance tax reduction. Such legislation allows for Mississippi to compete with other states that have lowered, and in some instances fully exempted, energy severance taxes for periods of time to encourage investment in this emerging industry. Tight formations in Mississippi have, so far, been challenging and expensive to develop. With the reduced tax, several southwest counties located within the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale formation will hopefully now attract more investment capital related to oil production using horizontal drilling.

HB 844 will eliminate sales tax paid on energy used by manufacturers. With America’s newfound energy advantage, the manufacturing sector is active and growing. Eliminating the sales tax paid on energy, mostly natural gas and electricity, puts Mississippi on a level playing field with most other states and in a more competitive position in a growing manufacturing sector. Economists have recently been writing about potential competitive advantages for manufacturing in the U.S., with abundant natural gas being a significant contributor. Because of energy supply strengths through natural gas pipelines and electric power capacity, manufacturing should be a disproportionate area of focus for economic developers.

HB 1281 updates energy building codes for commercial buildings bringing them to the ASHRAE 90.1-2010 standard. Largely already done in practice in commercial construction, this legislation officially sets a legal standard for energy efficient construction. The economics of ASHRAE standards are well-understood and significant, especially in climates like Mississippi. Standardized and smarter construction practices, both in commercial and residential, will be economically beneficial for homeowners and businesses, and through time, will effectively expand Mississippi’s energy supply capacity through conservation.

Each of these measures and others will play a role in assisting the growth of Mississippi’s energy sector, which in turn will aid the growth of the state economy. In short, good policy.

Hot Topics at the Institute

Energy Intensive Manufacturing: The shale revolution has made America the most energy rich country in the world, when counting all domestic energy sources. Because of this advantage, energy intensive manufacturers worldwide looking to expand are looking in the U.S. and some are reshoring in the U.S. after stints overseas. With the myriad of interstate natural gas pipelines and robust electric power generation and transmission, Mississippi is uniquely positioned for manufacturing expansion. A reliable supply of energy is a critically important requirement for long-term investments, so how does Mississippi leverage its energy supply to attract industry? Related News:
http://www.kiplinger.com/article/business/T019-C021-S005-manufacturing-bouncing-back.html

Energy Workforce: Energy related jobs in Mississippi pay about twice the private sector average. While the national economy is sluggish, one of the bright spots is energy, and Mississippi has a good reputation as a place for energy investment. To keep up with workforce demand in an ever-changing and more technology-oriented energy sector, special attention to workforce development in the energy sector makes sense considering the high wages in this industry. If Mississippi’s goal is to expand its energy sector, including energy-consuming manufacturing, an adequate workforce pipeline system is required. Related News:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/05/realestate/commercial/houstons-boom-is-led-by-the-energy-industry.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1360880051-/o5Tz4gDAQuQV3NvcEGfwA

Nuclear Power Industry: In the early 1980’s, the federal government rightfully adopted a policy to establish a consolidated storage and management system for nuclear fuel used in nuclear power plants. Thirty years later, very little progress has been made. To position itself as a nuclear energy industry leader, Mississippi communities should consider the economic opportunities associated with consolidated fuel storage. Technology options today and on the horizon include fuel reprocessing, small modular reactors, and fast reactors or other advanced reactors. Wherever the location, consolidated fuel storage could attract tremendous investment and nuclear industry activity (i.e.high-paying jobs) and is worth serious consideration as a major economic development initiative. Related Commentary:
http://us.arevablog.com/2013/01/14/doe-adds-voice-to-choir-for-used-nuclear-fuel-management-reform/

Research and Development: While the four Mississippi research universities perform well in various energy related research fields, Mississippi as a whole has had very little private R and D or technology commercialization in energy. For sustainable economic growth, innovation is required, and if Mississippi can stake a reputation in technology development over time, a long-lasting economic impact will be the result. Related News:
http://ncbiotech.org/article/battelle-study-shows-strong-nc-bioscience-growth/3322