JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — In some versions of a Dec. 11 story about state aid to alternative-energy companies, The Associated Press erroneously reported that the state of Mississippi gave economic aid to GreenTech Automotive without a contract. The Mississippi Development Authority signed a loan agreement with GreenTech before loaning the company $3 million.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Companies with $227M in aid employ fewer than 500
Alternative energy start-ups got $227M in loans from Miss., have produced fewer than 500 jobs
By JEFF AMY
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi has disbursed nearly $227 million in aid to six alternative energy companies since 2010, but so far has fewer than 500 jobs to show for it.
Research by The Associated Press finds the state has put in most of its total commitment, mainly in loans, to help some companies get off the ground. But the companies in most cases don't have to meet job targets until five years or more after they begin production.
The three companies that Mississippi has given the most money to, KiOR, Stion and View, have pledged to create a total of 2,330 jobs. So far, after receiving $195 million in aid, almost all in loans, the three companies have about 300 employees combined.
Officials with the Mississippi Development Authority said it's unfair to judge the companies before they reach the dates specified for job creation.
"Most of these projects are still in the startup phase," said Kathy Gelston, chief financial officer for the Mississippi Development Authority. "Some of them are still in the construction phase. That's like saying 'How is your house that you're halfway through building, how is it performing?" Well rain's falling in it because the roof's not on yet."
Gelston said that under deals with KiOR, Stion and View, the state agreed to finance the first phase of those projects, in part because private investment and loans were hard to obtain.
"We do believe we will eventually see good returns on these investments, but you're not going to see them in midstream," Gelston said.
The AP review of state records comes after the failure of the Twin Creeks solar plant in Senatobia. The company received $27.7 million in state aid and is now trying to recover that money as the company liquidates. The city of Senatobia was a pass-through for the aid and owns the building and most equipment. But it's unclear how much money the city will be able to get for those items and repay to the state.