Southern Cross Seeks to Bring Eco-Friendly Wind Power to the Golden Triangle
Courtesy of the Dispatch
Southern Cross Transmission (SCT) filed a petition with the Mississippi Public Service Commission on Tuesday formally proposing a route for the company’s 400-mile, 500-kilovolt wind energy line. The project would still need to be approved by the Public Service Commission to OK the project; there is currently no timeline for when such a vote might take place.
SCT has been in talks with landowners along a proposed route that runs from Texas, through Louisiana and Mississippi, terminating near Caladonia. The project is anticipated to have a total cost of about one billion dollars, according to an independent economic analysis Southern Cross commissioned back in December.
“It’s taken a little extra time because we’ve done a lot of interaction with landowners and we have worked to find an acceptable route,” Southern Cross spokesperson Denton Gibbes said. “It always takes a little time when you’re trying to do things right.”
The proposed route enters the Golden Triangle in the western Oktibbeha County, then moves northeast into Clay County, and then north of West Point into Monroe County near Hamilton. Then it enters Lowndes County and ends at a converter station to be built near Caledonia.
Gibbes went on to say that landowners along the potential route will soon receive letters from the company to let them know about the proposal, in order to give them time to sumbit any questions or objections they may have, and, eventually, to allow them to consider easements that would allow the project to take place.
Commissioner Cecil Brown said, “I think it’s an exciting project in general terms. . . It sounds like it will be good for the people in the state of Mississippi, but again I’ve got to look at the filings. We’ll probably have hearings on it. There may be some objectors. It can take a while to get through something like this.”
Until the project is approved, citizens can object by mailing letters with their reasons for intervening to PSC Executive Secretary Katherine Collier at P.O. Box 1174 in Jackson.
Public Service Commissioner for Mississippi’s Northern District Brandon Presley was unavailable for comment, but he has previously said that he would only support the project if the company built the converter station in Mississippi, if Mississippians have access to the power running through the transmission lines, and if Mississippi contractors are included in labor contracts.
“To me the trade-off is if you want to come in and do this, we’ll look at it, but you’ve got to meet a public interest burden,” Presley said in November. “The burden for that is what does the state of Mississippi — what do you get out of it? Are you just coming through our area or are we going to see development and real job growth?”