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Kemper County IGCC Fact Sheet: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Project

Company/Alliance: Mississippi Power, Southern Energy, KBR

Location: Kemper County, Mississippi

Feedstock: Coal: Mississippi lignite

Size: 582 MW: about 3 Mt of CO2 captured annually

Capture Technology: Pre-combustion IGCC plant using TRIG™ technology (65% capture)

CO2 Fate: Pipeline for onshore EOR

Timing: Construction started June 2010. Originally the Kemper was to start in May 2014. After many delays the Project is expected to start full operation by October 31, 2016


The Kemper County is now projected to cost almost $6.66 billion. Initially the project was estimated to cost $2.2 billion.

Mississippi Power received a $270 million grant from the Department of Energy for the project (CCPI Phase 2) and $133 million in investment tax credits approved by the Internal Revenue Service. Although by missing its projected deadline it will loose some tax benefits. Mississippi Power said it plans to borrow from Southern Co. to repay the tax credits. Southern is also lending money to pay $353 million in refunds of rate increases that the state Supreme Court ruled illegal and $301 million to repay a deposit to South Mississippi Electric Power Association.

April 2013: Southern Company announced that it has withdrawn it's application for a federal loan guarantee for the power plant its subsidiary Mississippi Power is building in Kemper County. Southern says that Mississippi Power can borrow money elsewhere at a lower rate than available under the loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, cutting the costs of the plant.

May 2014. Mississippi Power had to repay $133 million to the federal government because it missed the original deadline to put the plant into operation in May 2014. Southern will also have to return about $234 million in investment tax credits to the Internal Revenue Service if the plant isn’t in service by April 19, 2016.


In July 2016, Southern Company announced that Kemper County had started to produce synthetic gas from coal. This is the first step of the project before it will start to produce electricity and capture 65% of the emissions.

Kemper County, one of the US flagship CCS projects has been beset with delays and cost-increases. Currently the price tag is now at $6.66 billion. The plant was originally estimated to cost $2.2 billion in 2004, but costs began increasing almost immediately, especially once construction began in 2010 and the company discovered that many of the original designs needed major changes. One of these design flaws included miscalculating pipe thickness, length, quantity and metallurgy. After these changes to the pipes were made, additional changes needed to be done to the support structures. The company has previously said that each month of delay costs around $25 million to $35 million. The project is now nearly three years behind schedule. Because the ratepayer share of the plant is capped at $2.88 billion, the repeated overages are coming out of the company’s pocket.

The pulverized coal power station will be a new construction with a base lignite capacity of 524 MW and NG Capacity 58 MW. The plant will capture 65% of total emissions resulting in 3.5 million tons per year. The Kemper County energy facility will have fewer particulate, sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions than traditional pulverized coal plants.

Kemper County has been generating electricity by burning natural gas since August 2014, but the key parts, designed to gasify lignite got fuel and capture the CO2 is still under construction. Early in 2016 Mississippi Power is going to start testing with lignite coal.

Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG™) technology was developed by Southern Company and KBR in conjunction with the DOE. It is a coal-gasification method designed to be cleaner and cheaper than its competitors. TRIG technology is designed to work efficiently with lower rank coals, for example the Mississippi Lignite. The Kemper County IGCC Project is a scale-up of a test plant already in operation at the Power Systems Development Facility (PSDF) in Wilsonville, AL.

The Kemper County IGCC plant is situated in close proximity to an estimated 4 billion tons of mineable Mississippi lignite. Mississippi lignite is a low rank coal with high moisture of high ash content. Southern Energy owns the lignite fields which will supply Kemper County. These type of coals make up half the proven reserves in the US and worldwide. It is estimated that 160 million tons of coal will be needed for Kemper IGCC to operate for 40 years. Lignite coals also have a very steady cost projection which make them a dependable fuel source for cost projection. The project is also located very close to mature Mississippi oil fields.

The Kemper County CCS project is being used as one of two examples used by the EPA to demonstrate the feasibility of CCS on coal-fired power plants in order to reduce their CO2 emissions. Under the US EPA’s proposed guidelines, future coal plants would need to emit no more than 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of power produced. The Kemper County CCS project will emit well below that amount.

This project was one of two selected in the second round of the US Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative. It received US$270 million in funding to demonstrate advanced power generation systems using IGCC technology.

The Mississippi Commission voted April 29, 2010 to allow the plant to go forward if Mississippi Power Company (a division of Southern Company) agreed to cap costs at $2.4 billion. MPC had previously proposed a cost cap of $3.2 billion.

October 2013, Southern announced that the 60 miles of CO2 pipeline for EOR were complete as were the 5 miles of natural gas pipeline.

Project Link: Mississippi Power Kemper County IGCC website

Other Sources and Press Releases:

No Cost Overages or Delays in Latest Kemper Filing (September 2016)
Miss. Power announces delay, additional cost for Kemper County plant
(August 2016)
Kemper County plant refunds almost complete
(August 2016)
Mississippi Power raises cost estimate again for Kemper coal gasification plant
(July 2016)
In milestone, Kemper plant produces synthetic gas from coal (July 2016)
Southern Co. sued over $100M 'pipeline to nowhere' (June 2016)
Kemper, Boundary Dam plants tackle technical challenges
(April 2016)
Kemper County IGCC Costs Rise and Delays Loom—Again
(April 2016)
Kemper plant delayed until 2nd half of year
(February 2016)
Southern Encounters Challenges in Starting Kemper Coal Plant
(January 2016)
Southern: Kemper Gasification Technology Goes Global
(December 2015)
Cost of Mississippi Power's Kemper plant rises another $15 million, delay to cost company $234 million (September 2015)
Kemper 'clean coal' project shows the costly perils of being 'first of its kind'
(August 2015)
Japanese carbon capture project leaders visit coal plant in Kemper (July 2015)
Plant hits biggest milestone yet (March 2015)
Costs rise by another $30 million at Kemper plant (September 2014)
Intended showcase of clean-coal future hits snags (May 2014)
Southern agrees to coal research with Chinese firm (April 2014)
Kemper plant will not meet construction schedule
(October 2013)
Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Research, Development, and Demonstration at the U.S. Department of Energy (June 2013)
Southern Co replaces executives in wake of Kemper cost overrun
(May 2013)
Southern decides against federal loan for Kemper coal plant (April 2013)
Mississippi allows Southern Co to keep building $2.8 billion coal plant (March 2012)
Miss. Supreme Court reverses Southern Co coal project approval (March 2012)
Mississippi Power will keep building Kemper County (March 2012)
KRB TRIG technology web page
Kemper County Brochure [PDF]
US Energy Secretary wants Kemper approval (May 2010)
Mississippi Power receives additional federal support (May 2010)
Mississippi Power going ahead with plant (May 2010)
IGCC power plant costs released (March 2010)