Lignite Plant Latest

By: Nick Adam Email
By: Nick Adam Email

Mississippi Power officials are speaking out on the Kemper County lignite coal plant project.

In recent weeks the project has come under scrutiny from the Mississippi Sierra Club. The group continues efforts to halt construction, but work has not stopped at the project site.

Mississippi Power CEO Ed Day says that construction at the plant site is still on track for completion in May 2014.

"We never stopped construction," says Day, "and [we think] the record will show this was the most cost effective resource over the 40 year period."

The latest legal challenge from the Sierra Club asks for construction to be halted while an appeal is filed. The group says that the Mississippi Public Service Commission did not provide enough details about their decision to allow construction in the first place, but Day says that complaint has already been addressed.

"We're confident in the construction, the technology, and how the commission took the time in 2009, 2010, and recently to go through the testimony," says Day.

"We're confident the court system will uphold the latest order."

Day also addressed concerns that with currently low natural gas prices, building a coal plant is not worth the money.

"It's all about fuel diversity, back in 2001 we built a gas facility north of Pascagoula, gas prices were about the same as they are today and we used that plant to keep our fuel prices low," says Day.

Day says that the Kemper plant will add to the companies options should prices fluctuate and coal energy become cheaper than gas.

"Over the next 40 years, depending on which fuel price is best for our customers we'll be able to portfolio those together, and offer a very stable energy rate over the foreseeable future for our customers."

Day recognizes that rates are expected to go up over the next decade, estimating that customers could see an increase of 30 to 33 percent in their power bill.

"We think that possibly that might be less because we have the opportunity to sell byproducts that will be produced at the site," says Day.

Day also says that Sierra Club claims that the plant will lead to pollution is inaccurate, saying the lignite plant is a zero discharge water facility.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Peabody Location: Valley Road on May 5, 2012 at 04:57 PM
    I support the power plant. Natural gas might be cheaper today but what are future prices? I know my power bill will go up for now but this might save me money in the future. If groups like the Siera club and PETA had their way we would be living i the dark,walking everywhere and eating dandilions.
  • by John on May 3, 2012 at 08:21 AM
    If gas prices are lower than coal prices (as they are now) then there will be no byproducts to sell because the lignite plant will not be running. However, consumers will still have to pay for the lignite plant and 33% higher utility bills won't cover it. I think MS Power has gotten in way over their heads but it's too late to back out now.
  • by jay on May 2, 2012 at 07:30 PM
    And its nice to know that MS Power customers will be paying 30-33% higher utility bills while those in other states may be getting a lower power bill. We could have just raised everyone taxes by 33% and paid higher unemployment benefits.
  • by Tommy Location: Dekalb on May 2, 2012 at 06:27 PM
    Tell the Sierra Club to shut off their power and catch some fireflies for light. These folks make me want to puke. Guess they don't have anything else to do. They can go hug a tree and kiss a fish.
  • by Greg Location: Alabama on May 2, 2012 at 04:07 PM
    Hello sierra club what about all the job for MS we are tied of paying unemployment
  • by Roger Location: Meridian on May 2, 2012 at 02:40 PM
    Every member of the Sierra Club should have the power to thier homes and businesses shut off. (voluntarily)
    If they are so against power plants, then don't use it.
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