Cap and Chased – Miss. Decision May Doom Coal Plant
Mississippi Power Co. (MPC) may abandon construction of a coal plant in Kemper County after receiving a decision from the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) capping spending on the venture at $2.4 billion.
The decision contained several conditions that MPC would need to abide by if they were to construct the proposed 582-megawatt integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) plant.
While MPC initially stated that they could construct the plant for $2.4 billion, their recent findings indicate the project would cost $3.2 billion.
“We are disappointed in this decision,” said company spokeswoman Cindy Duvall.
The PSC conditions “seem to make it impossible for Mississippi Power to finance or construct the Kemper County IGCC Project even if the right to construct had been — or might in the future — be allowed,” Duvall added. “We put forth the best option available to us to meet our customers’ needs with reliable and affordable energy.”
MPC planned on using the IGCC to burn lignite coal to meet future electricity demand and give the utility 21st century reduced emissions options for its aging coal plants.
A decision to forego the project could cost the county jobs. The plant would have created 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and 260 permanent jobs.
“We’re going to keep praying it happens,” said James Granger, president of the Kemper County Board of Supervisors.
The vote came via a 2-1 decision. PSC Chairman Brandon Presley voted against it, warning that the cap would not “sufficiently protect the ratepayers of Mississippi Power Co from the great risks associated with the construction of this project.”