Mississippi Power pushes back Kemper in-service date by a month

Mississippi Power said Aug. 8 that it continues making progress on the completion of the Kemper County coal gasification power facility.

In July, the project reached its most significant milestone to date when it converted locally-mined lignite to syngas. That lignite is produced under contract by a subsidiary of North American Coal.

The production of syngas, using the transport integrated gasification (TRIG) technology, involved operating the “front end” of the plant and validated the technology works at commercial scale. The power plant portion, or the “back end” of the project, is already in service on natural gas as its fuel and has been providing reliable electricity for customers since August 2014.

As the company continues start-up and commissioning activities at Kemper, Mississippi Power announced Aug. 8 that it is revising the facility’s scheduled in-service date to Oct. 31, 2016. This one-month extension is needed to make mechanical equipment modifications to the gasifiers’ supporting systems, complete the remaining commissioning activities on the syngas clean-up systems and integrate all systems necessary to generate electricity.

The company also revised its cost estimate subject to the cost cap for the Kemper project – since the last monthly report to the Mississippi Public Service Commission – to include an additional $43 million related to the schedule extension and start-up activities, for a total of approximately $81 million recorded for the second quarter of 2016. All of those costs will be paid by parent Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) and Mississippi Power – not by Mississippi Power customers.

Mississippi Power added that its analysis of the time needed to complete start-up and commissioning activities will continue until the remaining assets are placed in service. The Kemper project team continues focusing on starting up and integrating various systems needed to achieve the next major milestone – using the syngas to produce electricity.

Mississippi Power produces energy for more than 186,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.