Mississippi is home to the largest nuclear power reactor in the United States, and natural gas accounts for a whopping 72% of the state's grid. It's no wonder that many residents are being told that renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, are now the most economical way to generate electricity. But these statements are based on creative accounting tricks that only examine a small part of the expenses incurred to integrate solar energy into the grid and exclude many others. In other words, the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) estimates are like calculating the cost of a car per mile traveled after factoring in expenses such as initial capital investment, loan and insurance payments, fuel costs, and maintenance. Accurately estimating the true cost of using energy resources in Central Mississippi requires a comprehensive analysis of all associated expenses.
To begin with, overnight capital cost estimates from the power market module of the U. S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) can be used to calculate the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) for new solar installations in Mississippi. These estimates take into account U.
and other factors specific to each state. Additionally, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Form 1 database can be used to compare the cost of solar energy with the actual cost data of the Victor J. power plant and the Great Gulf nuclear power plant. Integrating all these additional solar panels into the grid will require occupying thousands of more acres of land, building more transmission lines to connect these panels to the grid and moving energy to where it's needed. These costs, including property taxes associated with land, lines and other equipment, will be passed on to customers through their electricity rates. It is essential to understand that while renewable energy sources may be cheaper in terms of initial capital investment, they come with hidden costs that must be taken into account when evaluating their true cost.
Isaac Orr is a researcher specializing in energy and environmental policies at the Center of the American Experiment who wrote this opinion piece for the Mississippi Public Policy Center. In conclusion, it is clear that accurately assessing the true cost of using energy resources in Central Mississippi requires a comprehensive analysis that takes into account all associated expenses. This includes not only initial capital investment but also hidden costs such as land acquisition, transmission lines, and property taxes that will be passed on to customers through their electricity rates. Understanding these costs is essential for making informed decisions about energy resources in Mississippi.