Sept. 1, 2011
In a special session tomorrow, the Mississippi Legislature will vote on $75 million in bonds and incentives for two technology plants to open in Mississippi.
Gov. Haley Barbour called a special session on Monday for the Legislature to fund an economic development project but did not release details about the project. Yesterday, Barbour announced the incentive packages would bring California-based Calisolar, a silicon manufacturing plant to Columbus and HCL CleanTech to Olive Branch. CleanTech would also open a commercial facility and research and development center in Grenada and three large-scale commercial plants in Booneville, Hattiesburg and Natchez. CleanTech converts biomass materials to biofuels. The new developments would bring a total of 1,800 jobs to the state.
John D. Correnti is the chairman of Calisolar's board of directors, according to the company's website and has served as CEO of several steel companies such as of Nucor Corporation, Birmingham Steel and SeverCorr. According to Campaignmoney.com, he has donated to candidates such as Republican Senator Roger Wicker and U.S. Congressman Alan Nunnelee as well as the Republican National Committee.
Last August, the Legislature passed a $45 million bond issue allowing the state to loan $75 million to KiOR, a Houston-based startup that converts biomass into a crude-oil substitute.
The company plans to open a $190 million plant in Columbus by next year and two more plants after that.
"About 350 to 400 people are in construction at the facility. It's expected to open during the second half of next year," KiOR spokesman Matt Hargarten said today.
Hargarten added KiOR became a public company in June.
"Calisolar and HCL CleanTech are examples of how Mississippi has become a top site for high-tech, high-skilled manufacturing," Barbour said in a statement yesterday. "I hope the special session will be short and productive as we continue the business of creating new, higher-paying jobs for Mississippians."
Also see: "There's Oil in Them Trees"