Mississippi Power said in a quarterly report released Dec. 19 that the final transmission line that will carry electricity created at the Kemper County coal gasification power project was energized on Dec. 10, bringing to completion the transmission plan for the project.
Chip Speaker, Mississippi Power’s Real Estate manager who led the effort to acquire the rights-of-way for both the transmission lines and pipelines, as well as the land for the 587-MW plant and mine sites, officially energized the 115-kV line.
“The Real Estate department has been working on this project since March of 2006,” said Speaker, who will be retiring from Mississippi Power in January. “I’ve been involved in land and rights-of-way acquisition since 1977, and I never thought I’d get an opportunity like this.”
Nearly 100 miles of transmission lines were installed or upgraded in support of the Kemper project. The project called for three transmission lines and four substations to be upgraded and for five new transmission lines and five new substations to be built, making this the largest transmission project in Mississippi Power’s history.
When Mississippi Power filed its September status report for the Kemper facility with the Mississippi Public Service Commission, the Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) subsidiary announced a revision to the in-service date as well as the cost estimate for the plant. The revision includes an in-service date for the plant in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Another recent development was the construction of a dragline at the neighboring lignite mine, run on contract by an affiliate of North American Coal, that will supply the Kemper plant with feedstock lignite. While smaller trucks and bulldozers started mining lignite at the Liberty Mine several months ago, operations kicked into high gear when the dragline was “walked” into the first mining pit in mid-November.
The 9 million-pound dragline and its 86-cubic yard bucket, which will be operated by a two-man team, can remove more than 100 tons of overburden with a single scoop. Once the dragline uncovers the coal seam, mobile equipment will remove the lignite for delivery to the plant.
The dragline was purchased from UK Coal near Stobswood, England, in 2007. It was completely disassembled, then shipped in pieces to New Orleans, where it was stored at the port for nearly four years. As construction ramped up at both the power plant and mine sites, the dragline was reassembled over a 20-month period.