Mississippi Power's conversion of plant nearly complete
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Coal barge traveling to Plant Watson.
Mississippi Power

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - The last load of coal has arrived at Mississippi Power Company's Plant Watson in Gulfport and officials said the conversion of the facility to natural gas should be completed by April 16.

Mississippi Power had already started using natural gas and announced in August it would convert units 4 and 5 from coal to natural gas to most economically comply with new federal environmental regulations.

"This is a milestone that reinforces Mississippi Power's commitment to provide our customers clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy," Allen Reaves, vice president of generation and senior production officer, said in a statement.

"Repowering Plant Watson to natural gas has been part of Mississippi Power's resource planning for some time to ensure we meet or exceed environmental standards set by the state and federal governments," he said.

The Sun Herald reports Plant Watson was the first Mississippi Power plant to use coal as a fuel source. The company said when unit 4 began operating in April 1968 its 250 megawatts doubled the plant's capacity. Unit 5, added a few years later and added 500 megawatts.

The conversion to natural gas avoids the expense of environmental controls to meet new Environmental Protection Agency requirements, Reaves said, but with all five units at the plant becoming gas-fired it also increases the dependence on natural gas.


Information from: The Sun Herald. Article written by the Associated Press (AP).