Thursday, December 16, 2010

Miss. Power breaking ground
on Kemper County IGCC plant

Source: WLOX DeKalb, MS

Mississippi Power will break ground today on its next generation of power plants.

The company touts the $2.4 billion Kemper County Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle ("IGCC") Plant as a step toward energy independence in Mississippi.

The company fought a long battle to get to this stage, including questions from the state Public Service Commission and protests from environmental groups. One of the big issues was how Mississippi Power would pay for the plant.

The company had originally proposed that it be allowed to pass along construction costs to customers right away. After hearings with the PSC, the company reached an agreement to delay adding those costs to power bills until 2012.

Mississippi Power selected Kemper County for the plant site because it has huge lignite coal reserves that remain largely untapped. Mississippi Power will take the lignite and turn it into a gas to be used to produce electricity.

Construction of the Kemper County plant will create about 1,000 jobs. Mississippi Power expects to create 260 permanent jobs. The first two stages of construction are scheduled to take all of 2011, with construction of the plant in 2012 and 2013. The Kemper County plant is expected to begin operations in 2014.

Miss. Power's website says "the local lignite will provide decades of low-cost fuel and avoid huge price swings associated with uncontrollable fuel markets. It is the lower cost fuel available - and with a 4 billion ton reserve in Mississippi - we Mississippi Power can secure a stable fuel source while reducing our dependence on foreign fuel for future generations, due to its abundance and affordability."

Ed note: The nominal 600MW (net) IGCC plant will utilize the Southern Co/KBR "TRIG" air-blown gasifier integrated with two Siemens SGT6-5000F gas turbine generators, the hot exhaust of which produces steam to drive a steam turbine generator. Southern Co. is the parent company of Mississippi Power. The project will enjoy a substantial financial boost from Federal tax credit incentives. The South Mississippi Electric Power Association has agreed to take a minor equity stake in the project.

The plant will include capture of 65% of the carbon in the lignite feedstock, giving it a carbon footprint approximately equal to that associated with a natural-gas fired combined cycle plant. The captured CO2 is expected to be fed into a pipeline for use in enhanced oil recovery or other uses.

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