Mississippi Power CEO Wilson optimistic about Kemper IGCC startup in January

Mississippi Power Chairman and CEO Anthony Wilson said Dec. 13 that he is optimistic that the Kemper County integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant will start commercial operations in January 2017.

The head of the Southern (NYSE:SO) utility provided one of the keynote addresses at the PennWell POWER-GEN in Orlando Florida. After his presentation, Wilson told GenerationHub there is a chance that the plant could still start commercial operation by the end of December 2016.

Earlier this month, Mississippi Power announced another schedule delay to the next-generation coal gasification power plant, saying it now expected the IGCC to start operation in January 2017. The utility has attributed this latest delay to the need to maintenance for the plant’s gas cleanup system.

The Mississippi Power CEO said he feels optimistic about a January startup. At the same time, Kemper County is a “first of a kind” technology and things can still go wrong, Wilson noted.

The turbines at the 580-MW Kemper County have been generating power since late 2014 using natural gas. Kemper County started producing synthetic gas from lignite coal several months ago.

There are an estimated 600 million tons of lignite coal to Kemper County thanks to the adjoining North American Coal mine. The project, which will also employ carbon capture and storage (CCS) has also drawn much interest from foreign nations, Wilson said during his address.

The technology that Southern is using is adept at handling the moisture in lignite, Wilson said.


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.