Kemper County IGCC
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, is progressing with plans to build and operate a 582MW lignite-fired IGCC plant at Kemper County in Mississippi. The project will use two transport integrated gasifier trains, and aims to capture 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 per annum. The project began construction during 2011 and is scheduled to be operational by the second half of 2016.
In December 2015 Summit Power signed a contract with China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Corp. and SNC-Lavalin Engineers & Constructors Inc. (SNC-Lavalin).This might be a needed step for the project to move to financial closing.
In September, Summit said it planned to move forward with the proposal, despite having to forgo more than $100 million in Department of Energy funds because of a federal deadline (ClimateWire,Sept. 23).
The plant will include carbon capture and sequestration, which aims to reduce 65% of the facility's CO2 emissions. Captured CO2 will then be transported by pipeline for use on EOR projects, and at least one CO2 buyer has already been secured.
Southern Company has been working with partner KBR to develop a more efficient gasification process for low-rank coals, such as Mississippi’s abundant lignite resource. The Kemper County IGCC Project will be a scaled-up version of a plant already developed by Southern Company and KBR, in conjunction with the US Department of Energy, at its Power Systems Development Facility in Alabama.
The results of a Department of Energy-funded project, carried out by the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC), on water-gas shift catalysts used in IGCC systems are to be trialled at Kemper County, the results of which could lower costs significantly and increase power generation. The plant will showcase a transport gasifier technology developed at the NCCC.
Southern Company and KBR announced plans in October 2012 to market the gasification technology to be used at Kemper County for use at other gas-fired power plant projects.
The project was boosted by a court ruling in December 2012, which upheld the plant's construction certificate after a legal challenge by environmental group, the Sierra Club.
The company made a final investment decision in May 2010, and the cap was originally around $2.4 billion, but has since been increased to $ 3.42 billion. The project was selected for US$270 million in funding by the second round of the US Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative, to demonstrate the IGCC technology. It has also received $412 million in investment tax credits from the revenue service.
In August 2012, the company finalised contracts for the sale of three byproducts from the coal gasification process, with CO2, sulfuric acid and ammonia all to be captured and sold. In the same month, electricity cooperative, South Mississippi Electric Power Association (SMEPA), confirmed its purchase of a 15% stake in the project.
A legal settlement in January 2013 laid the path for a "blueprint" for the plant's cost recovery as well as withdrawing pending litigation against the project.
In April 2013 Mississippi Power asked for an additional $600 mill to build the Kemper plant. Parts of this will be covered by the investors, according to the legal settlement in January 2013.
In January 2014 there were reports that the cost of Kemper was increasing and would rise above USD 5 billion, and in October 2014 reports said that the cost had increased to more than USD 6 billion.
Kemper County IGCC obtained revised Public Service Commission approvals in April 2012 after an unsuccessful opposition bid. Construction had already begun during 2011 when approvals had first been granted. As of December 2012, the plant was 75% complete and scheduled to begin operating in late 2014. However, during 2014 the building of Kemper was reported delayed twice, and the opening is now pushed back from 2014 to late 2016.
Minister Tord Lien at Kemper, Photo: Ole Berthelsen/OED
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