Insights > Sustainability defines Entergy Mississippi’s past and future
Sustainability defines Entergy Mississippi’s past and future
For Entergy Mississippi, it was a commitment to the future that rooted the company in sustainability. During MP&L’s annual meeting in 1970, President Donald Lutken appealed to the audience to “gear up for a new era” of community service and development, with special emphasis on meeting the “environmental demands of our times.”
“Those early steps by the company set the course for what sustainability means in the modern era,” said Kelli Dowell, Entergy’s director, environmental policy. “It’s everything we’re doing to make sure our stakeholders are thriving now and well into the future. It’s more than environmental actions—it’s boosting economic development, helping people in need and improving the quality of life in our communities. Lutken understood that those efforts were interconnected in fundamental ways.”
Environmental stewardship, poverty solutions and education and workforce development all contribute to Entergy’s mission of delivering sustainable value to customers, employees, communities and owners. Entergy-led initiatives in Mississippi have provided financial and volunteer support to meet many critical needs—from tax-return assistance and disaster relief to stocking food pantries and improving early childhood education.
Today, Lutken’s bold vision for the future is a reality. Since 2001, when Entergy became the first U.S. utility to voluntarily stabilize its carbon dioxide emissions, the company has become a leader in sustainability. Early action led to a carbon emission rate that at year-end 2022 was 31% lower than year-2000 levels.
Net-zero emissions by 2050
Entergy’s commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 now drives the company’s business strategy. Key initiatives include transitioning to cleaner generation sources, building a more resilient system and partnering with customers to help them meet their own sustainability goals.
Entergy Mississippi’s contributions to achieving Entergy’s overall sustainability goals have been vital. Over the past two decades, Entergy Mississippi has significantly reduced carbon emissions through fleet modernization; and since 1985, Grand Gulf Nuclear Station has added safe, carbon-free energy to the grid while affordably generating around 20% of Mississippi’s electricity.
In 2021, Entergy Mississippi made its largest-ever commitment to renewable resources with the rollout of EDGE, for Economic Development with Green Energy, a five-year strategy to replace aging natural gas plants with 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy.
Today, the new 100-megawatt Sunflower Solar Station in Ruleville is producing clean, green energy for customers in addition to local sales and property tax revenues for Sunflower County. Indirect benefits have included increased local spending for service and construction industries in the Mississippi Delta.
Entergy Mississippi also is making it possible for customers to fulfill their own climate commitments.
“Our commercial and industrial customers have sustainability goals that they’re trying to meet, and the fact that we’re a lower-emission source of power is a key advantage for them,” said Ann Becker, senior manager of corporate sustainability. “In many ways, sustainability is our business. It means understanding our customers’ needs, providing cost-effective solutions and working with them in meaningful ways to reduce their carbon footprint.”
Increasing sustainability through grantmaking
Another way Entergy Mississippi is helping reduce emissions and increase sustainability is through shareholder-funded grants from the Environmental Initiatives Fund and the Entergy Charitable Foundation.
Since 2009, EIF grants totaling approximately $1.3 million have supported a variety of improvements in Mississippi, such as a Ducks Unlimited initiative that helps rice farmers and other agricultural producers optimize irrigation and enhance wildlife habitat. The project protects groundwater resources by utilizing surface water for irrigation and includes pump electrification to improve energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions.
Other shareholder-funded projects in Mississippi have included the Sky Lake Boardwalk near Belzoni, which winds through some of the largest and oldest bald cypress trees on Earth; and the Fannye Cook Natural Area in Flowood, Mississippi’s largest urban natural area.
Entergy’s sustainability focus also is boosting Mississippi’s electric vehicle market. In 2010, the company helped fund the installation of EV charging stations at Jackson State University, University of Mississippi Medical Center and Mississippi State University. More recently, Entergy Mississippi launched a direct current fast charging station pilot project in Ridgeland—the first company-owned EV charging station of its kind in Entergy’s four-state service area.
“I believe we’re still here because of the value we place on sustainability and making the right decisions today that will help future generations thrive,” said Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO. “For the past century, investing in the well-being of our customers and communities has shaped our identity. We’re always working to build a better, more sustainable future for Mississippi because that’s what a premier utility does.”