South Mississippi Electric repowers gas plant, gains 150 MW

South Mississippi Electric Power Association (SMEPA) has virtually completed its $237m repowering project at the J.T. Dudley gas-fired facility at the Moselle station in Mississippi, the utility said Sept. 28.

SMEPA and its electric cooperative partners have repowered a couple of gas-fired units at the station to generate about 35% more electricity while using the same amount of fuel, according to a SMEPA fact sheet.

The project should yield about 150 MW of additional generation, SMEPA said.

SMEPA has been upgrading the project to combined-cycle operation and it should be in full operation in early November. One of the two units actually started commercial operation in May.

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., was on hand for the Sept. 28 plant dedication.

The project’s $237m cost was actually $30m under budget, SMEPA said. During the peak of construction, there was a temporary workforce of 280 employed at the project. South Mississippi employs 53 people at the power plant.

SMEPA said commercial operation of the repowered facility is a big step toward its goal of owning 65% of the electric generation necessary to meet the needs of the 11 member systems.

Commercial operation of the J.T. Dudley, Sr. Generation Complex (Plant Moselle) commenced in 1970, SMEPA said. The plant’s original trio of steam turbine units produced a total of 177 MW. In 1997 and 2006, two combustion turbines were added at the plant (Units 4 and 5—each 83 MW), increasing total plant output to 344 MW.

SMEPA has been busy on the power generation front lately. In August, the public utility announced its was buying the 837-MW Batesville combined-cycle natural gas plant out of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of LSP Energy.

SMEPA bought the site’s 58-acre land parcel and plant support facilities, including pipelines, transmission lines and an interconnection switchyard. The facility is interconnected with the transmission systems of Entergy Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The purchase price was roughly $340 per KW.

At the same time as the Batesville announcement, SMEPA said it was buying a 15% stake in the Ratcliffe integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant being developed by Southern (NYSE: SO) subsidiary Mississippi Power. SMEPA is purchasing roughly an 88 MW interest in the Kemper County, Miss., IGCC. The project will gasify locally-mined lignite coal. It is expected to come online in the spring of 2014.

SMEPA already holds a 10% interest in the Entergy (NYSE: ETR) Grand Gulf nuclear plant in Port Gibson, Miss.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.