Q&A

Q&A

What is the Mississippi Energy Institute?

The Mississippi Energy Institute began as an initiative of Momentum Mississippi, a long term economic and education plan developed from the Mississippi Economic Council initiated Blueprint Mississippi study. One of Momentum Mississippi‘s high priority goals is to diversify and improve Mississippi’s economic base. With the state’s abundant, diverse resources, well-established infrastructure, and significant, increasing energy investments, Mississippi is poised to capitalize on the development of its energy resources and supportive policy environment. In so doing, Mississippi can realize its full economic development potential.

What does the Mississippi Energy Institute do?

The Mississippi Energy Institute conducts research and develops coordinated state level policies that support a reliable and expanding energy portfolio that is environmentally responsible. We also engage in the national energy debate while taking advantage of the market opportunities ensuring Mississippi’s economic development competitiveness.

Why is this important?

Mississippi has the potential to stand out in energy-based economic development, but it requires prioritization of activities, backed by an understanding of energy assets, opportunities and challenges in the State, thus serving to guide state actions. To advance public and private actions in Mississippi focused on energy-based economic development, it is critical for the state and key stakeholders to have reliable information, identifying growth opportunities in energy development for Mississippi, together with a detailed understanding of its assets and gaps.

How does the Mississippi Energy Institute help Mississippi?

We support and seek the development of policy recommendations that will enhance the energy infrastructure and industry in Mississippi. The Mississippi Energy Institute also supports educational initiatives to meet the present and future workforce needs of the Mississippi energy infrastructure and industry. On the national level, we help to make sure our nation’s leaders understand Mississippi’s commitment to responsible energy production and use.

By fostering innovation in energy production, we can enhance the economic vitality of Mississippi and provide national energy solutions.

What kinds of innovation in energy production is occurring in Mississippi?

New technology is enabling environmentally responsible, clean fired coal plants to add energy to the grid and promote industry and jobs. Mississippi is creating new partnership opportunities with the nation’s largest utilities to conserve and become more energy efficient. Multiple renewable biomass energy sources are available and our world class university research facilities are partnering with government and the private sector to take renewable energy to new heights. We are also seeing dramatic increases in private investment in infrastructure and federal support for research and development.

What are the greatest energy opportunities for Mississippi?

 Mississippi has many energy-related assets and opportunities, and the task of the Mississippi Energy Institute is to evaluate them all, prioritize them based on development potentials, and formulate strategies to optimize their enhancement and growth to benefit Mississippi and Mississippians. Energy areas identified as having the greatest potential for economic development and job growth are gas; biomass; advanced manufacturing of energy systems, components and energy-based products; and nuclear.

How will the Mississippi Energy Institute find opportunities in each of those energy areas?

A key role of the Mississippi Energy Institute is to evaluate growth and development across the energy value-chain and make recommendations for leveraging Mississippi’s key energy and associated-technology assets. Additionally, the MEI will address any gaps in the energy development ecosystem. Each energy cluster is evaluated to identify core competencies in terms of assets, capabilities and R&D strengths. This helps determine which energy economic development platforms upon which further economic development in the State may be built. The MEI will develop specific strategies and actions to drive energy-based development in general and specific to each platform.

How do each of these areas relate to energy opportunities for Mississippi?

 Gas

Focused on the use of conventional natural gas, shale gas, and syngas from biomass, petcoke and lignite gasification for low-cost and reliable electricity generation (which may attract and retain energy intensive industries to Mississippi) and for the production of value-added gas and syngas-based products such as fuels, chemicals and plastics.

Biomass

Focused on the use of Mississippi’s abundant supply of biomass (especially lignocellulosic biomass) for application to power generation and, more importantly, as feedstock for integrated biorefinery operations in production of liquid fuels, chemicals and biobased materials.

Advanced Manufacturing of Energy Systems, Components and Energy-based Products

Primarily a recruitment platform, focused on the attraction of manufacturers to the state of Mississippi in energy fields in which the state has proven capabilities and assets, or a research base upon which commercialization of energy technologies may occur.

Nuclear

A longer-term platform leveraging the nuclear industry friendly characteristics and geology of the state. Over the long-term this platform may involve Mississippi providing solutions for spent fuel storage/disposal and nuclear fuel reprocessing. While long-term for job development exists, actions need to be taken in the near term to position Mississippi with key regulatory/government agencies as a state open to opportunities in this arena.

What other energy and economic factors are examined?

Energy Efficiency

Smart Grid is an emergent form of energy demand and operational control that utilizes smart meters, transformers and one- and two-way consumer/provider communication networks, and other methods to facilitate more efficient uses of electricity. This committee examines existing and potential opportunities for applying smart grid technologies.

Renewable

Developing sustainable and affordable renewable energy sources is important to our energy future. Mississippi resources include an abundance of biomass and agriculture byproducts, along with landfill methane and hydro-kinetic energy.

Workforce

Having a trained workforce ready for the global economy is among the most important things Mississippi can do to prepare for economic prosperity. This committee examines current workforce policies and needs related to the energy sector and how our education system and other state institutions align with this demand.

Carbon capture, sequestration and storage

Mississippi has many natural geologic formations suitable for storing carbon dioxide, oil, gas and other substances. As utilities in the Southeastern United States equip generating facilities to capture CO2, Mississippi could play an important role in its sequestration.

Energy Infrastructure

Mississippi maintains a network of natural gas pipelines, roads, airports, sea and river ports and railways, all critical in moving energy assets where they are needed. MEI supports efforts to assess and expanding our energy infrastructure to take full advantage of the state’s energy opportunities.

New automotive, aerospace and defense technologies

Advanced manufacturing will be a major driver of Mississippi’s economy in the future. Existing industries in automotive, aerospace and defense will be heavily involved in energy related advancement opportunities. Examples include developing materials for lighter and more efficient vehicles and aircraft to new types of vehicles using alternative energy sources.

How does all this planning come together to create opportunities for Mississippians?

Taking advantage of these opportunities, and implementing the recommended strategies and actions will require collaboration between multiple entities—non-profit economic development bodies, the State’s economic development agency (MDA), industry partners and Mississippi’s research universities. The Mississippi Energy Institute takes a coordinating role, working with other strategic partners (including MDA, MTA, universities and private stakeholders) to assure implementation of recommendations.

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