Another Delay and Overrun for Kemper County Plant

By Editors of Power Engineering

The long-delayed and budget-busting Kemper County power plant just received yet another delay and price hike.

This time, Kemper experienced $33 million in additional cost overruns, according to a monthly report by Mississippi Power to the Mississippi Public Service Commission, as reported by Mississippi Today. The hike included $5 million for repairs, modifications and mechanical improvements and $28 million related to pushing back the start date from Oct. 31 to Nov. 30 at the latest.

Kemper and its associated coal mine was originally budgeted at $2.9 billion, though the total cost is now $6.9 billion. It’s also two years behind schedule.

Mississippi Power announced the last overrun of $43 million in August.

Jeff Shepard, spokesman of Mississippi Power, said the utility needs the extra month to prepare both of the plant’s gasifiers to produce electricity using synthesis gas.

Syngas is created when the locally-mined lignite is heated at high temperatures in the plant’s gasifiers, converting the coal to gas. The syngas, which is used similarly to natural gas, will produce electricity through the plant’s combustion turbines.

Shepard noted the plants first gasifier started converting lignite to syngas in July, with the second operating in September. The plant currently uses natural gas. 

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