Home » NEWS » Energy » Kemper plant makes power with gas from coal for first time
Completion of the power plant in Kemper County was more than three years behind schedule.

Kemper plant makes power with gas from coal for first time

Mississippi Power Co. says that the power plant it’s building in Kemper County has generated electricity using gas produced from coal for the first time.

Atlanta-based Southern Co., the utility’s parent company, announced that the electricity was generated during a test Wednesday. The company says it used both the part of the plant that turns soft lignite coal into a synthetic gas, as well as the chemical plant that removes carbon dioxide and other chemicals.

Mississippi Power spokesman Jeff Shepard says one of two power generating turbines was fueled with up to half synthetic gas, while continuing to burn up at least half natural gas. The plant has been generating electricity using natural gas since 2014. Shepard says the plant will continue to generate electricity normally as tests continue, using natural and synthetic gas.

The $6.8 billion plant, far over budget and behind schedule, is now supposed to be completed by Nov. 30. Mississippi Power must still start the second gasifier, synchronize the two units, and ramp up the feed of synthetic gas.

The Kemper plant is supposed to burn coal while emitting as little carbon dioxide as a typical natural gas plant.

“The technology at the heart of the first-of-its-kind facility provides a way forward for energy companies in the U.S. and around the world to cleanly generate electricity using an affordable and abundant resource,” Southern Co. Chairman and CEO Thomas Fanning said in a news release.

For now, though Shepard said the carbon dioxide was vented into the atmosphere.

“There are specifications that must be met before the carbon dioxide can be placed in the carbon dioxide pipeline and sent to oil fields for use in enhanced oil recovery,” Shepard wrote in an email.

He said ammonia and sulfuric acid, the other two byproducts from the chemical plant, were collected and stored for sale.

The plant and associated coal mine were originally supposed to cost $2.9 billion at most, and earliest estimates were lower. Customers could be asked to pay as much as $4.2 billion. In December, the Mississippi Public Service commission allowed Mississippi Power to raise rates on its 186,000 customers by $126 million a year to pay for $1.1 billion worth of equipment already generating electricity.


… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Associated Press

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *