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New solar project up and running in Lowndes County

An Origis Energy solar project in Lowndes County is up and running, adding energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s electrical grid.

May 30, 2024
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Article from The Dispatch

An Origis Energy solar project in Lowndes County is up and running, adding energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s electrical grid.

Golden Triangle II is a solar farm, battery bank and substation, Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said. The 150 megawatt alternating current solar project, with 50 megawatts of battery storage, started generating electricity on May 21, according to a Wednesday press release from Origis.

“Its location, next to the Golden Triangle megaplex, will provide renewable power on a large scale,” Higgins said in the release. “The project will also provide millions of dollars to our schools and county government.”

Higgins told The Dispatch the solar project is “east and south” of the new Aluminum Dynamics mill, and power will enter the TVA grid just north of the aluminum mill.

Golden Triangle II is one of Origis’s three renewable energy sites in the region. The renewable energy provider is also constructing Golden Triangle I in Lowndes County and Optimist in Clay County. Higgins said the two Lowndes sites take up about 3,500 acres, while the Clay County site is about 2,200 acres.

Golden Triangle I and Optimist are anticipated to be completed by 2025. All three projects together represent a capital investment of about $500 million, Higgins said.

Roughly 1.5 million solar panel modules will be installed at the three sites, enough to power an estimated 126,000 homes, the release said.

“Solar energy enhances Mississippi’s economic competitiveness, and Origis is removing limits to a cleaner, brighter future by building the region’s clean-energy infrastructure,” Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Development Officer for Origis Johan Vanhee said in the release. “Golden Triangle II is the first step in fostering a zero-carbon economy across the state that supports our nation’s economic and energy security goals.”

Each of the three sites will be connected to the TVA grid, delivering clean energy through Power Purchase Agreements between TVA and Origis.

“As a national clean energy leader, TVA is on the forefront to drive carbon reduction across all sectors of the economy and provide the clean power needed to fuel our region’s growth,” said TVA Southwest Region Executive Amy Tate in the press release. “Together, with partners like Origis, TVA is developing carbon-free energy solutions that create jobs and investment in the communities we serve.”

TVA will use the power generated by the sites to meet sustainable energy demand from some of its large industrial customers through its Green Invest Program.

“A lot of companies are asking for renewable power in their power mix, because either they want it as a company, or the customers that they make their products for want it,” Higgins said. “And in most cases, that does not come at a discount. That comes at a premium cost.”

Higgins said the project will provide millions in tax revenue to local schools and the county government, with the rate rising after the project’s 11th year, since county supervisors approved a fee in lieu tax reduction for the project to come to Lowndes County.

“In year 11, it’ll be worth well over $1 million each, and in years one through 10, it’s worth well over half a million dollars a year each,” Higgins said.

The press release said estimated economic benefits from the three projects include $106 million in near-term construction and hiring gains to the area.

RES is providing construction services to Origis, employing an estimated 500 workers for all three sites. Long-term, Origis estimates there will be nine on-site jobs over the project’s life years, the release said.

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