Coal-fired Kemper power plant project wins PSC approval once again

By Dorothy Davis 

Mississippi Public Service Commission The Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) voted 2-1 Tuesday reaffirming approval of Mississippi Power’s 582-megawatt integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant project in Kemper County. 

The PSC was required to reassess and vote again on the order approving the $2.4 billion coal-fired power project after the state Supreme Court determined regulators had not provided sufficient details on its decision to approve the initial certificate. 

“Fundamentally, the order today has not changed from the previous Order and decision of the Commission to approve the IGCC Kemper Plant. What we did today was clarify our original decision, as requested by the Supreme Court. They asked us for more detail, and we gave it today,” said Commissioner Leonard Bentz in a statement released on the PSC website. 

“If for some reason this plant doesn’t work or does not perform as advertised, the Ratepayer will not be responsible. It is imperative to note, as defined in the Order on page 108, the operational costs and performance parameters assure that the Ratepayers will not pay for an underperforming asset,” Bentz added. 

Kemper County IGCC project construction updates- August 2011 Credit: Mississippi Power According to Mississippi Power, the new Kemper plant will be equipped with TRIG™ technology, an IGCC process that will turn Mississippi lignite into a cleaner burning synthetic gas or “syngas” to fire turbines for power generation. The TRIG™ technology will serve to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 65 percent - making CO2 emissions from Kemper equivalent to a similarly sized natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant. 

The Kemper plant will create approximately 300 permanent jobs, plus 2,000 jobs during peak construction. Operations are currently scheduled to commence in 2014. 

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE:SO) , serves approximately 188,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties.

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