Monday, April 02, 2012

Gasification & News

Lights still on at Kemper 
IGCC construction site 

Recent news seemed to foretell of 'lights-out' for Southern Company clean-coal project, but latest news 
is that the PSC has given its blessing 
to 'truck on'.


GULFPORT, Miss. - On March 30, 2012 it was reported that Southern Company's smallest operating utility, Mississippi Power,  received authorization to temporarily continue construction of the Kemper County IGCC Project from the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

Recently, (see earlier posting of Gasification & IGCC News) the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the Commission must address the issue of insufficient supporting evidence in its granting of an authorization to proceed with construction.   Although it put the project's future in doubt, the Court's ruling apparently did not directly order shut down of the project.

"This action allows us to continue construction of the Kemper Project," said Jeff Shepard, company spokesman, Mississippi Power. "Any delays to this project would mean significant costs to our customers. Today's ruling means we can continue building a sound energy future for our customers."

Mississippi Power continues to provide the Public Service Commission with information as needed as they address the Supreme Court ruling. 

 In 2010 the PSC had originally ruled against the project, saying that the company failed to prove that it would be beneficial to its customers.  However, later that year it reversed its position (in a 2-1 vote) based on a Mississippi Power proposal of a cost cap of almost $2.9 billion for the 582MW (net) plant.  

The plant is designed to use a gasification technology developed by Southern Co and KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root) to burn Mississippi lignite. The so-called TRIG (Transport Integrated Gasification) design is based on long-proven processing technology used in refineries, but has, to date, operated as a coal gasifier only at small scale at the DOE advanced systems test facility in Wilsonville, Alabama. 

However, according to a September, 2009 release,  and subsequent updates, it was expected that the first commercial-scale TRIG gasifier would be operating in Guandong Province, China before the end of 2011.

Current information on the actual status of the Guandong project is still being researched.