Companies building a new 582-megawatt power plant near DeKalb are not holding it up as a model for plants around the nation. The Kemper County IGCC plant, now about nine months away from completion, will burn low-grade lignite coal and capture carbon emissions. Kemper is the first plant to use TRIG technology, which Atlanta-based Southern Co. developed in the 1990s.
Southern has said it hopes to sell the technology around the world as a solution to global change, but recently told Reuters that Kemper could not be replicated nationally.
"Because the unique characteristics that make the project the right choice for Mississippi cannot be consistently replicated on a national level, the Kemper County Energy Facility should not serve as a primary basis for new emissions standards impacting all new coal-fired power plants," Southern said in a statement to the wire service.
Louie Miller, who heads the anti-Kemper Mississippi Sierra Club, took aim at the report. Miller said, through a statement of his own, that the company's "confession" that Kemper is not a panacea for the nation's energy woes "should come as a shock" to its customers.
“Since day one, Mississippi Power, its parent Southern Company, and its high-profile backers like Governor Haley Barbour and United States Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu have promised that the Kemper Plant would be a shining model for new coal-fired power plants across the United States, as well as overseas," Miller said.
The Obama Administration recently announced new carbon-limiting rules on utility companies. Southern characterizes its corporate stance as climate-friendly, but told Reuters the new rules "essentially eliminate coal as a future generation option."