Mississippi Power, Sierra Club Settle Kemper Dispute

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Jackson, Miss. Mississippi Power Co. and the Sierra Club have agreed to end litigation over construction of a coal-fired power plant in Kemper County.

The announcement came Monday from the company and the environmental group.

Robert Wiygul of Ocean Springs, the attorney for the Sierra Club, says Mississippi Power will stop using coal at plants in south Mississippi and Alabama.

At Plant Sweatt in Lauderdale County, the company says it commits to retire two of the existing natural gas units, re-power with more advanced technology or convert to an alternative non fossil-fuel source, no later than Dec. 31, 2018.

Mississippi Power will no longer use coal at Plant Watson in Gulfport, converting its two remaining coal-fired units to natural gas no later than April 16, 2015. The plant already has three units that operate on natural gas.

And at Plant Greene County, Mississippi Power will cease coal operations and convert two units to natural gas no later than April 16, 2016.

Wiygul says the company also will create a $15 million fund to promote energy efficiency in its service area.

Wiygul says the Sierra Club will drop regulatory challenges before the Public Service Commission and legal appeals pending in local and state courts.

The price tag for the power plant, a lignite mine and associated pipelines is expected to run to $5.2 billion overall, up from an original estimate of $2.8 billion.