HATTIESBURG, Miss. (June 21, 2018) – Cooperative Energy today announced a five-year plan to convert R.D. Morrow, Sr. Generating Station (Plant Morrow) from coal to a natural gas- fired combined cycle plant. Plant Morrow is located in Lamar County near Purvis, Miss.
Efficiency and improved economic factors led Cooperative Energy’s Board of Directors to approve the fuel and equipment conversion. This investment in natural gas follows Cooperative Energy’s investment in 2017 to establish solar energy production facilities in South Mississippi.
“The change to begin using lower cost natural gas also brings with it new, more efficient combined cycle technology,” said Jim Compton, Cooperative Energy’s president and CEO. “The resulting plant will generate electricity more economically and will provide improved operational flexibility to best serve Cooperative Energy and our Member cooperatives for many years into the future. Construction at the existing location where generation and transmission infrastructure are already in place is an added benefit.”
“Plant Morrow has provided dependable, affordable electricity to Cooperative Energy’s Member cooperatives for decades, said Compton. “The men and women who have operated the plant through the years are to be commended for its history of reliability and safety. The plant’s reputation for reliability and service should continue well into our future with natural gas as its new fuel source.”
Plant Morrow began operation in 1978 with two 200 MW units fueled by Appalachian coal. The plant has served as a stable, reliable source of electricity for Cooperative Energy Members for 40 years.
Cooperative Energy plans to retain most, if not all, employees at Plant Morrow for construction, plant conversion and future plant operations. Employees not retained at the site will have the option to transition into available positions within the organization.
Plans are underway to begin decommissioning of the coal equipment at the plant before the end of 2018. Pending required regulatory approvals, construction will begin immediately on the new combined-cycle natural gas unit. The new unit is expected to be in service by early 2023.
Cooperative Energy is the only not-for-profit wholesale electric power provider headquartered in Mississippi. In this role, Cooperative Energy operates a diversified portfolio of fuels to generate and transmit electricity for 11 Member distribution systems located in the southern and western portions of the state. Cooperative Energy and its 11 Member cooperatives provide power to more than 427,000 homes and business across the state.