Mississippi Power last week filed for a certificate of public convenience and necessity at the Mississippi Public Service Commission (MPSC) to build a 582-MW integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant in Kemper County. The plant will be the first advanced gasification generating facility with carbon capture capabilities in Mississippi, and one of the first in the country.

The new plant is necessary for the utility to meet the needs of its customers in Mississippi and to help reduce the cost of fuel to those customers, it said.

"This plant will diversify our fuel sources and will produce energy at lower and more stable costs than any other fossil fuel option," said Anthony Topazi, Mississippi Power president and chief executive officer. "By creating an additional fuel alternative—Mississippi lignite—this project creates significant energy cost reductions for our customers, such that over its life, the energy savings more than offset the cost of building the plant." He noted that along with IGCC technology, a diverse portfolio of generation resources such as renewable biomass, and energy efficiency and conservation initiatives, all play a crucial role in meeting customers’ rising electricity needs.

"I know of no other place in the country where all of the conditions come together like they do in Mississippi for such a value-creating project," Topazi said. "The Kemper County IGCC offers our state a leadership role in providing environmentally responsible electricity and in creating energy independence for Mississippi."

Mississippi lignite is an affordable, abundant natural resource that is largely unused. The proposed plant will use lignite coal that will be mined locally in Kemper County.

"We have studied the fuel sources and generation resource options available to us, and have determined that the IGCC technology, using locally mined Mississippi lignite, is the best option to provide affordable and environmentally responsible electricity for our customers’ growing needs," said Topazi. "The other benefits to the State of Mississippi are numerous including new jobs, new tax revenues, development of Mississippi lignite as a dependable and stable fuel source, and an additional source of carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery in the state."

The Kemper County IGCC Project, estimated to cost approximately $2.2 billion, will be owned and operated by Mississippi Power and will serve the growing demand for electricity among Mississippi Power’s customer base. Pending MPSC approval, construction is expected to begin in 2010 with operational start-up of the facility expected by late 2013.

IGCC is a coal gasification plant integrated with a combined cycle power plant specifically designed to work with each other. By providing carbon capture and sequestration, the facility will lead the way to lower-carbon electricity production.

Source: Mississippi Power