Edgecombe County had high hopes for 26 acres of undeveloped land just east of Rocky Mount. Enron Corp.'s proposed power generation plant would generate 220 megawatts of electricity. The power would be sold to other power companies, and the plant would boost the county's tax base.
"After the damages that Floyd left us, and combined with the recent economic downturns, we certainly would welcome a plant such as the Enron-generating facility here," said Richard Worsinger, director of Rocky Mount Utilities.
Worsinger said such a plant would have great economic benefits for both Rocky Mount and Edgecombe County.
"Well, we would have both the benefit, in addition to our tax base, and also the city would be a supplier of natural gas to a generating facility, so we would reap the benefits, taxes and natural gas sales," he said.
However, experts said the economic benefits may be elusive.
"In terms of the county, I'm sure it's a huge disappointment after they started seeing the Enron story break," said Sougata Mukherjee, editor of the
Triangle Business Journal
However, the project is still alive, with Enron paying $137,000 to renew its option to purchase the land through May 2002.
"The additional point, which is interesting, is you have an economic development arm of Edgecombe County, because of what has happened to Enron, now saying, 'We will have to revisit if they're even welcome,'" Mukherjee said.
Even though Enron had filed for Chapter 11, the corporation is allowed to continue operations, and the proposed Edgecombe County power plant is still pending before the state utilities commission.