2017-07-12 / Front Page

Southern’s “clean coal” power plant is defunct

“Clean coal” technology is not financially feasible,” Mike Vogt, LSPower’s Longleaf project manager repeatedly told environmental groups hounding the $2 billion coal-fired power plant planned for Early County.

Despite being financially, and apparently technologically unfeasible, Southern Co. and Mississippi Power Co. embarked on the construction of a clean coal plant in 2010, heavily subsidized by Mississippi rate payers.

It was announced recently, citing economics and safety, that start-up and operation at the Kemper clean-coal plant had been suspended.

The announcement came after the Mississippi Public Service Commission asked its staff to draw up a resolution for its July 6 meeting instructing Southern Co. to convert the $7.5 billion Plant Kemper project to natural gas.

On Wednesday, Southern President and CEO Tom Fanning agreed, announcing that Kemper will operate solely with natural gas pending the Mississippi PSC’s decision on future operations.

The Kemper plant was originally supposed to cost $2.9 billion. But the price tag soared to $7.5 billion as the project fell more than three years behind schedule.

Southern shareholders could be on the hook for $6.5 billion in losses.

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