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State and Federal Officials Praise Mississippi’s Newest Power Plant

By Paul Boger | Published 12 Nov 2013 10:30am | comments
State and federal officials believe Mississippi Power's new Kemper County Coal Plant is the future of energy production in the U.S. Even though it has been plagued with work delays and budget issues. M.P.B.'s Paul Boger reports.
 
State and federal officials joined dignitaries from around the world to take a tour of Mississippi's newest power plant; as part of an international summit on clean-energy projects.
 
U.S Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz believes the clean-coal technology being created by the Kemper County Project will be integral to the success the nation's future energy policy.
 
"The integrated nature -- taking the fuel right off the site, putting it through this advanced technology -- a technology tailored specifically to the fuel here in Mississippi -- it's a tremendous integrated plant." said Moniz. "It's a plant of the future. We're going to need, not ten, maybe 100 more of these plants across the country in the future."
 
The Kemper project has not been without controversy. Since the construction of the plant began in 2010, the project's budget has more than doubled. Going from two billion to nearly five billion dollars, and advocates against the power plant worry that Mississippi Power -- the company that owns the plant -- will pass a majority of the costs to its customers, who have already seen a 15% increase in their rates.
 
Linda St. Vincent is a resident of Gulfport, and a Mississippi Power customer. 
 
"$78 million a month to pay the interest on their loans." said St. Vincent. "You think they going to be able to -- I mean the only real successful they've gotten money to put into that thing is the backs of the rate payers."
 
Governor Phil Bryant said it's projects like these that are driving the world forward. 
 
"To take the product that we somewhat could call 'coal,' but to take that product that people would think would be unworthy of use in any manner and turn it into clean energy, is that not all our dreams?" asked Bryant. "To be the most efficient, the most effective and the cleanest energy absolutely possible, and to share it with the rest of the world? Clean Coal Gasification."
 
The plant was originally set to open in April of next year. Now officials with Mississippi Power say they don't expect the Kemper County Coal Plant to be online until the end of 2014.
 

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