Construction on coal-fired power plant may continue for now

The Mississippi Public Service Commission voted 2-1 on March 30 to grant temporary construction authority to Mississippi Power to continue with construction on the 582 MW Kemper County integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) coal-fired power plant.

According to WTOK-TV, the vote came after the state Supreme Court ruled March 15 that the PSC failed to explain its reasons for changing requirements for the $2.4 billion plant.

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), said it expects to have the plant completed by 2014. The utility said it expects that interruption in construction on the facility could increases costs by $250 million to $500 million as contractors would shift workers and equipment elsewhere and the company might have to break contracts. The company told the commission it has already spent $1.1 billion and committed another $400 million. Mississippi Power, under previous PSC orders, can spend up to $2.88 billion on the project.

The plant is expected to include 65 percent carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) through a technology known as Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG). TRIG technology was developed by the Department of Energy, Southern Co. and KBR at the Power Systems Development Facility in Wilsonville, Ala. In addition to carbon capture, the technology is also effective at capturing SO2, NOX and mercury.

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