Kemper coal gasification plant operations delayed again
Mississippi Power has once again delayed by one month the planned start of its integrated gasification combined-cycle and carbon capture plant in Kemper County, Mississippi, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The utility, a unit of Southern Co., now says the 582-MW IGCC plant will begin full operation by the end of February, not Jan. 31.
- Mississippi Power says the delay will add $51 million to the cost of the plant, but under an agreement with state regulators, the additional costs will be borne by shareholders, not ratepayers.
In December, Mississippi Power delayed full operation of the Kemper project by one month, saying it expected it to enter service in January. Delays and cost overruns have cause the cost of the project to balloon from an original estimate of $2.8 billion to nearly $7 billion.
The project is designed to gasify lignite from a nearby mine and to capture most of the carbon dioxide emissions from the other end of the plant, but it has been riddled with technical problems.
Mississippi Power actually achieved operation of both gasifier units and production of electricity from both combustion turbines on Jan. 29, but determined that a roughly week long outage is needed to repair and modify the plant’s ability “to achieve sustained operations sufficient to support placing the plant in service for customers.”
Mississippi Power estimates that any delays beyond Feb. 28 will result in additional costs of $25 million to $35 million per month.
The delays and rising costs of the Kemper project have prompted Cooperative Energy, formerly known as South Mississippi Electric Power Association, to cancel plans to take a stake in the project, and have resulted in a lawsuit brought against Southern Co. by attorneys representing Southern Co. shareholders.
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