The availability of sustainable green energy has become a common request for sites. Morehouse Parish has actively supported the development of the wood pellet industry and utility-scale solar power production. The journey began with an initiative to find alternative uses for southern yellow pine. The regional forestry industry took decades to develop sustainable forests. It needed a new use for millions of acres of pine forests as pulp and paper production declined. The solution was biomass.
In 2012, the Drax Corporation selected a site near Beekman that uses the thinning and waste materials from timber management to produce wood pellets. The company is dedicated to keeping the forest replanted and strongly supports sustainable practices. Drax pellets are shipped by rail and then by ship to the United Kingdom as a component of green energy production.
Oak Ridge Solar
Energy has always been an essential resource for Morehouse Parish. Because of the history of industrial development, electrical transmission lines and substations were strategically positioned to ensure redundant energy supplies. These assets and the availability of land have spurred interest in solar power. Access to the MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) provided the opening for utility-scale power production. Oak Ridge Solar, located near the Village of Oak Ridge, is a 200 MW facility owned by AES Corporation, a Fortune 500 global power company dedicated to improving lives with greener, smarter energy solutions.
While we may not know the future of energy, the parish is seeking a balance to support the future while respecting the past.