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Electrical updates lead way for new industry

Southwest Electric Power Association crews work to install power line along Carthage Point Road. The lines are being installed to bring power to the new Delta Energy plant. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

Southwest Electric Power Association crews work to install power line along Carthage Point Road. The lines are being installed to bring power to the new Delta Energy plant. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association workers were out in force Monday morning at the former International Paper Co. site, installing electric power lines and poles.

That new equipment will serve Delta-Energy, which in February announced plans to open a carbon solids and hydrocarbon recapturing plant on 30 acres of the old International Paper Co. site here.

On May 1, John Rollins, a company official, said Delta-Energy had moved equipment from its first plant in North Dakota for its first line of products. He said the company has committed to spending $8 million between the purchase of the property from Adams County and improvements to it, and expects to invest a total of $45 million in the next 24 months as production steps up.

Rollins said the company will employ about 100 people in its first year, and the plant will operate 24 hours each day.

It will draw all of its energy to run its plant from Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association.

“We’re doing this now because of Delta-Energy, but this work is part of our ongoing system improvements. We’ve been wanting to do this for some time,” said Deb McGee, who is human resources and public relations coordinator for Southwest Mississippi Electric Power.

On Monday, workers were upgrading wiring and putting in new electric lines and poles, McGee said.

“That area of Natchez is really expanding. It’s obvious we are going to need more power going to that area,” she said.

Southwest Mississippi Electric Power operates a substation in the Kingston area that serves its rural customers south of Natchez. However, McGee said a new substation would be installed in 2016 in an area across from the Co-Lin/Alcorn State campus in Natchez.

“This new substation will provide additional capacity for future commercial growth and provide improved reliability for the Cloverdale area,” she said. “This will be our 18th substation.”

Work at the Delta-Energy site should be completed by the end of this week, barring any issues.

“We’ll have some things to go back and do to get them connected when they get closer to up and running,” McGee said.

Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association, based in Lorman, is a non-profit electric cooperative that serves a portion or all of nine counties, including Adams County.