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Mississippi Power: Kemper Plant on track to meet Dec. 31 start
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Kemper County Energy Facility
Photo: Mississippi Power

Mississippi Power says its Kemper County Energy Facility is on track to meet a December deadline to produce electricity using coal. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, the project is billions over budget and years behind schedule.

Completion of the nearly $7 billion Kemper plant is entering the home stretch. The company's upcoming finish is scheduled for December 31st. The plant's original start date was May 2014. Jeff Shepard is a spokesman for Mississippi Power.

"There have been schedule and cost issues, but I do want to emphasize this is the first time this has happened anywhere in the world and it's happening in Kemper County, Mississippi. I think that something Mississippi Power customers and all Mississippians should be proud of."

The plant will make electricity with so-called clean-coal technology. Shepard says the next step is finishing the carbon-capture part of the plant.

"We're confident that once we're ready to start sending carbon to that portion of the facilty, we'll be successful there and we can continue with the system integration and then move forward with the commercial operation date of the facility."

If Mississippi Power does not meet its goal by the end of the month, the company will miss $250 million in tax breaks. The company plans to ask the state Public Service Commission in 2017 for permission to raise rates for its customers for a second time to offset some costs of the plant.