Another #Clean_Coal Power Project on the Brink of Failure RSS Feed

Another Clean Coal Power Project on the Brink of Failure

Kemper County Mississippi is both one of the poorest places in America, and home to one of the most expensive power plants ever built, Mississippi Power’s 582 megawatt clean coal power plant with carbon capture.

For Southern Company, owner of Mississippi Power, the federal government and the state of Mississippi, Kemper County Energy Facility was intended to be the showcase for multi-decade dream of “clean coal,” using technology to gasify coal for cleaner burning and capture its emissions for use in other purposes or stored underground. If the Kemper plant opens, in fact, there will be nothing else like it in the world: The coal will come from an adjacent mine dramatically reducing shipping costs and instead of releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, it will capture 65 percent of that greenhouse gas and pipe it to an aging oil field, enhancing oil production by as much as 2 million barrels a year.

Unfortunately for Southern Company, taxpayers, Mississippi ratepayers and clean-coal boosters among both Republicans (President’s Reagan and George W. Bush both pushed funding for clean coal) and Democrats, the Kemper clean coal plant, despite commitments to begin operating in 2013, has yet to generate any power and is way over budget.

Blown Deadlines, Exploding Costs

Though when construction began, the plant was scheduled to begin generating power in 2013, during the permitting and regulatory approval process, opening day was moved first to 2014 then, during construction, to May 2015, another deadline that has come and gone with Mississippi power now saying the plant won’t be online until the first half of next year at the earliest.

The Kemper plant is blowing through money faster than it blows through deadlines. The original estimated price tag of $1.8 billion has swelled to $6.2 billion. For missing the 2014 deadline, Southern was forced to repay $130 million in federal tax credits. More recently, activist and businessman Tommy Blanton won a narrow 5-4 Mississippi Supreme Court decision in February ordering Mississippi Power to refund more than $257 million in rate increases collected to help fund the power plant’s construction.

Read full story at Heartland